Graduation set for next Saturday

Sarah Ebeling | Managing Editor

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things in the past year. From visits with family and friends, work, school and so many other things, events across the nation and even world were canceled or changed due to the pandemic. 

But locally, Parker’s plans for graduation are moving forward. 

Although the event was held last year at the athletic complex, they will not be back there this year. 

According to Parker School District superintendent Donavan DeBoer, they did consider going back to an outside venue due to the CDC’s COVID-19 protocols and because some graduates wanted to. However, due to unpredictable and the unusually cool weather, they had to set up the gym as a back up plan. 

“And we didn’t want to risk it and wanted to avoid unnecessary costs,” said DeBoer. 

Masks will be expected/recommended with no limit to the number of attendees. 

He noted too that it will be up to the individual patrons as far as social distancings. 

“We will have the graduates spread out on the chairs. The ceremony will be on NFHS for free to anyone that wants to stay home and watch,” said DeBoer. 

Although the year hasn’t been without ups and downs, DeBoer said he can’t even begin to describe the many things he is thankful for. 

“I certainly appreciate the patience and resilience of these seniors.  They have endured many changes, and for the most part, just rolled with it.  I am so proud of their fortitude and their attitudes when it came to mitigation strategies and getting the school year in.  I hope they learned the importance of teamwork, acceptance and gratitude for things in life,” DeBoer stated. 

He noted that all the teachers deserve a special thank you.

“In one of very few states that started the school year on time, and actually had in person school, we need to commend our teachers.  If it wasn’t for the teachers, this year would not have been possible.  They made bigger sacrifices than they get credit for.  If we go back to August of 2020, people need to remember how many unknowns there were about COVID19, and what risks we were all taking to have 550 people in the same building.  And now fast forward, we had all of our sports seasons, all of our activities have pretty much returned to “normal,” and we never closed our doors.  We came close one day, but we worked through.  I am truly so proud and thankful for my staff, and this year has put our profession at the top of the list I think,” he concluded.