OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) — Students at Owensboro H.S. got the chance to walk the stage tonight at their graduation, two months after it was originally set to happen. In May, school officials announced graduation would be delayed due to COVID-19.
While graduates were able to walk the stage, the ceremony looked different than in year’s past. Graduates donned a mask with the Owensboro H.S. logo on it, in addition to their traditional cap and gown. Seats on the football field were separated and students remained socially distant while in line to walk the stage.
One graduate, who already received her diploma prior to the ceremony, tells Eyewitness News walking the stage was so important to her, she drove three hours to attend the ceremony in-person.
“It still means a lot to me, no matter what, I came so far to be here for this,” said Michaela Hicks. “I was very emotional and it took a lot of support from family, friends and just people that I know. It really did hurt to find out we may not have a class graduation like in person and then when I found out we were having one I just became all happy again.”
Hicks says she plans on becoming a nurse so she can help save someone’s life. When asked what she thought about the possibility of schools returning to in-person classes in the fall, Hicks says she’s grateful she could walk at graduation in -person but believes fall classes should begin virtually and students should slowly be reintroduced to the brick-and-mortar style of education once COVID-19 cases decrease significantly in the area.
“It’s really exciting because I didn’t really get to say goodbye. Toward the end of COVID, it basically took everything from me. Prom, graduation like this, I didn’t really get to say goodbye to my teachers and friends and getting back to be able to do that just means so much,” said Hicks.
For those that couldn’t attend, or chose not to due to the pandemic, graduates and families were able to follow along via livestream.
(This story was originally published on July 24, 2020)