Blackhawks ready to soar

Front from left, Olivia Levers, Dylan Zrnich, Rylie Morris and David Donnelon. Back from left, Chris Grennier, Blake Elliot and Josh Dubiel. Brandon Seniors with caps and gowns on May 21. Photo by Patrick McAbee.

By Shelby Stewart
Staff Writer
Brandon seniors picked up their caps and gowns on May 21 in anticipation for their graduation ceremony.
“We are hopefully going to decide when and where graduation is going to be by the end of this week, but have earmarked June 19 and/or 20 for the date,” said Brandon High School principal Dan Stevens. “The event at the school was really just for students to hand in their books and get their cap and gown, but they made it much more than that when they got here.”
Ordinarily, during the senior’s last day, they would walk through the school in their caps and gowns while underclassmen clapped, an event deemed a clap-out. Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 shutdown, the seniors haven’t been in school since mid-March, but they still got a celebration.
“Teachers lines the drive to wish them good luck as they drove off,” said Stevens. “The parents were congratulating them as well, and many of the seniors decorated their cars. Some of them went and changed and then came back with their caps and gowns on celebrating in the back of pick-up trucks or in Jeeps. We even brought the music out playing really loud to add to the atmosphere. It was a great time.”
Senior Leader Emma Hill enjoyed the send-off, though she admits it wasn’t what she had thought it would be.
“The parents had set up a drive by where they clapped for us, similar to how other grades did with the clap-out throughout the school,” said Hill. “It just sucks, because of all the memories we didn’t get. But also, I know the virus is bigger than me trying to graduate so I’ve come to peace with it.”
She’s also excited for the graduation ceremony as long as it meets the expectations of her and her classmates. Hill plans on attending Grand Valley State University for nursing to become a pediatric nurse. She also had words of wisdom for future students.
“Go one day at a time because you never know what’s going to happen the next day,” she said. “And to take everything in in the moment because you don’t know if you’re going to get it again.”
Principal Stevens also had a message for his graduating seniors.
“I want to wish the class of 2020 the best of luck in all that they do,” said Stevens. “Although they don’t realize it now, the COVID-19 crisis will make them stronger and better leaders as they make their way into this world. We will miss them and will always remember the class of 2020 as they make their mark on this world.”

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