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North Beach High School Class of 2020 to be Celebrated in a Ceremony Reflecting Innovation and Resilience

For the Class of 2020, senior year has been one of missed experiences. With no senior prom, spring sports and other traditional rites of passage, they haven’t had a chance to create the memories they had expected to treasure for a lifetime.

The administrators of North Beach High School are determined to make sure there’s one important memory the Class of 2020 will leave with: A graduation ceremony to remember. It’s scheduled to take place June 13, 2020, at 5 p.m.

Graduate waving. Photo by Malcolm Garrett. Working with community members, the team of Principal Russell Evans, Vice Principal Wendy McCoy and Graduation and Transition Specialist Laken Church brainstormed ideas for conducting an event that celebrates the hard work and achievements of these young people in a fun and creative way, while adhering to state guidelines for keeping everyone safe.

In order to ensure proper social distancing, 37 young people – seniors plus a small number of juniors who’ve completed the requirements for graduation and a foreign language exchange student who wishes to participate -- will march onto Lt. Jim Davis Field, enter the grandstands and find their pre-designated spots, six feet apart. In addition to the traditional caps and gowns, they’ll wear cloth masks designed, sewn and decorated by local nurse/business owner Judy Mahew.

But, what’s graduation without family members and loved ones to witness the big day? In order to allow families to watch their child mark this milestone, they will be allowed to watch from the field, in the comfort and safety of their personal vehicles. For the community at large, it will be livestreamed on the district and school’s Facebook pages and broadcast on KOSW radio. The video will be available on YouTube shortly afterward.

It all gets started when families line up outside the stadium in their cars by 4:25 p.m. Next, they will caravan in and be directed where to park by the field attendants. Graduating students will enter the stadium at 5 p.m. Introductions will be provided by Principal Evans and each graduate will make a brief statement, followed by speeches by Valedictorian David Nessa and co-Salutatorians Amelia Loudenback and Isabele Harnagy. Superintendent Andy Kelly will certify the graduating Class of 2020.

“As graduates collect their diplomas and leave the stadium, I expect a fanfare unlike anything previously heard in Ocean Shores,” Superintendent Kelly says. “We hope the community will join us by creating a cacophony. Cheer! Honk your car horns! Bang pots and pans together! Let the Class of 2020 know you are proud!”

In these unprecedented times, North Beach High School seeks to carry on tradition with flexibility, creativity and resilience, some of the same characteristics we have worked to instill in our graduates.