Disappointments build resilience in WHS class of 2020

Jeff Guy
Dennis Eagle III and his fiance,' Josie Creamer, may not get a graduation ceremony, but here, the 2020 Wellington High School graduates pose in their caps and gowns.

After postponements and delays brought on by COVID-19, the school district ultimately made the hard decision to cancel this year’s high school graduation - a move that has left graduating seniors and their parents disappointed, yet understanding.

“Honestly I think there was a lot of stress in all the rescheduling and postponement,” WHS graduating senior Austin Harriger said. “It honestly feels underwhelming. It feels like a big letdown.”

Candace Dave was looking forward to watching her son, Jerren Foreman, walk across the stage to receive his diploma.

“With everything going on I do understand the health concern and the cancellation of the graduation,” Dave said. “It just really hurts our family to be let down twice. I shed tears knowing the graduation was cancelled the first time. Those tears were lifted when we thought we would get to see him walk. Then it was the same let down again.”

Harriger said after years of building up to this moment, it’s “almost kind of depressing” that a graduation ceremony is not taking place. It’s “unfortunate timing,” he said.

“It’s not necessarily anyone’s fault,” he said “It’s just how it happened.”

Graduating senior Maggie McMinn said, There’s been a rollercoaster of emotions the last two months. I was devastated by the news of graduation being cancelled but I understand the decision that was made.

Dave said, “My son is in special education so his steps getting to this moment were such an achievement. He wanted to experience going to senior prom and to walk across that stage. We are Native Americans so he had some special items gifted to him to wear on the big day.”

Those items were an eagle feather from his uncle that would have been worn on the side of his graduation cap with the tassel, and a button up shirt with a Native design made by his aunt.

Mason Lough, another graduating senior, expressed disappointment about not walking across the stage, but said he understands why the ceremony was cancelled.

“You wouldn’t want to risk your kids getting that,” he said. “They could’ve proposed another solution but I feel this is the best way to never experience the virus. I do think cancelling was the best thing.”

Harriger said, “It could’ve been worse.”

Lough said, “If our class has gotten anything from this whole COVID situation, it’s resilience. I think we’re better equipped to handle when things go wrong. We’ve shown we persevere.”

McMinn agreed that this year’s disappointments have made the class of 2020 stronger and more resilient for the future.

“To my fellow classmates the year 2020 will be a year we never forget,” she said.

Maggie McMinn's cousin, Angela Blake, painted a portrait of McMinn in her graduation outfit, wearing a mask. Her mother, Candi McMinn, decorated the table with a graduation and COVID theme.