Springfield High to host combined in-person graduation for first time in 3 years

A graduating senior's service dog looks around at all the activity behind her during the practice session for the Springfield High School graduation Friday, May 27, 2022 in the school's gymnasium. Springfield is holding their first traditional commencement ceremony in two years on Saturday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
A graduating senior's service dog looks around at all the activity behind her during the practice session for the Springfield High School graduation Friday, May 27, 2022 in the school's gymnasium. Springfield is holding their first traditional commencement ceremony in two years on Saturday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Springfield High School will host a traditional in-person graduation for the first time since 2019, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced virtual or social distanced ceremonies across the nation.

Graduation is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday in the Springfield High School Stadium.

Superintendent Bob Hill said students are not limited to the number of guests they can invite if the ceremony remains an outdoor event, weather permitting.

Members of this year’s senior class were freshmen the last time the high school held an in-person graduation ceremony, Hill said.

“Since that time, they have endured, they have triumphed and they have persevered through anything life decided to throw at them,” he said. “Certainly, there were points in our journey through the pandemic where both students and staff felt like we may never get back to this place again – where we can enjoy a ceremony on our football field with all of our seniors in one place and truly give them the send off they deserve.

ExploreAnnual Springfield Memorial Day parade among others in Clark, Champaign counties this weekend

“There is something so monumental about the last time your graduating class is altogether – it’s a moment that each of our graduates deserve and one that I hope they will look back favorably on,” Hill continued.

Clark County Combined Health District leaders are urging people to use caution this weekend amid a rise in COVID-19 cases when attending graduations and other gatherings.

Hill has full confidence in the seniors and their abilities to face whatever the future has planned, he said. The students are leaving as stronger, more prepared individuals because of the sacrifices and compromises they had to make, trying to navigate the already challenging landscape of high school during this very difficult time in our history, he added.

There are 430 graduating seniors this year.

Senior Jadyn Marstella said it’s a huge relief to finally graduate.

ExploreEmployment situation has improved in Clark and Champaign when compared to April 2021

“The pandemic made school feel like it was going to be over really soon, and then it made it feel like it would never end. So I’m glad to have made it through,” she said.

Senior Delian Bradley said, “it feels rewarding and unbelievable because we faced constant adversity throughout the years, but we stayed consistent with the process, and now we see our successes unfold.”

Last year, Springfield held three graduation ceremonies for under 400 seniors in the high school gym to allow for proper social distancing and invited guests. Seniors were divided into three groups by last name.

In 2020, 450 seniors graduated in individual ceremonies over several days. They walked across the stage set up in the high school’s main gym to accept their diplomas in front of up to four family members. Seniors and their guests had to have temperature checks as they entered the building, wear masks and maintain distancing between families.

A video of each graduate was recorded of them walking across the stage and edited together into a full graduation ceremony video. That won’t be necessary this year, and there will be one graduation ceremony with families and friends.

“I’m looking forward to seeing each senior walk across that stage and finally have their moment, when the only thing that matters is celebrating all that they have accomplished,” Hill said.


HOW TO GO

What: Springfield High School graduation

When: Saturday, May 28

Time: 10 a.m.

Where: Springfield High School Stadium

About the Author