High school graduation set for July 12

Cedar Grove-Belgium made an in-person ceremony a priority; football field to host event with restrictions
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press Staff

Cedar Grove-Belgium High School plans to hold its graduation ceremony outdoors on July 12 with adjustments made due to Covid-19, which postponed the ceremony in the first place, but without a blessing from the Sheboygan County Health Department.

“Our goal from the beginning, knowing that graduation was going to look different, was to host an in-person graduation of some kind so that we could get the class of 2020 together one last time and recognize them in person. We wanted to do more than a virtual ceremony,” according to a written report to the School Board from Principal Josh Ketterhagen.

The health department, he said in his report, would “not endorse our plan as we have it due to the amount of people.” Mass gatherings inside or outside are “highly discouraged,” according to recommendations from the health department, a Sheboygan Clinic pediatric doctor and the Centers for Disease Control.

The plan is to hold the ceremony at 1 p.m. on the football field and allow graduates’ parents and siblings to attend. Audience members will be seated six feet apart on bleachers and not allowed onto the field until after the ceremony. Graduates will sit six feet apart in chairs on the field.

Speeches will be limited to valedictorian Anna Claerbaut, salutatorian Natalie Davies, the announcement of graduates and the charge to the graduates.

After the ceremony, graduates and the audience will be required to immediately exit the field.

The ceremony will be filmed and a link to the video, along with a senior slideshow and video tribute, will be shared with families.

“We understand that there will be some people that won’t be able to see graduation and we also understand that some people won’t agree with our decision,” Ketterhagen said. “This has been a long planning process and we have talked to many health organizations and a number of other schools in our area to make the best decision. We believe that this is the best way to do that.”

In case of bad weather, the ceremony would be moved to the high school gym and only parents would be allowed.

The district had hoped to hold its ceremony on June 7, but Gov. Tony Evers closed school buildings and facilities through the end of the fiscal educational year, June 30. The district had Aug. 2 picked out in case July 12 didn’t work.

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