Graduation ceremonies still follow guidelines to prevent spread of COVID-19

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — After an unprecedented year, high school and college seniors are once again walking across the stage to honor their graduation.

Ceremonies are more open this year, but there are still rules graduates, and their families have to follow.

At Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC), 74 students graduated in the senior class, along with nine students graduating with an Associate of Arts Degree.

“Which means they have met the requirement of a two-year college degree on top of meeting their high school graduation requirements,” said Tiffany Brunner, the director of Middle College at OTC. “Which is an incredibly difficult feat to accomplish.”

Olivia Janssen was one of the middle college graduates and is thankful for the program.

“Middle College really just gave me that opportunity,” said Janssen. “I’m like ‘I can do both!’ I can still get the great high school atmosphere and the great college education as well.”

OTC hosted a drive-through ceremony in 2020

“They were stepping out of a car and getting their diplomas,” said Brunner. “So we’re thrilled to be back at the Gillioz tonight.”

For Springfield Public Schools (SPS) and Nixa, the graduation protocols are fairly similar.

“I’ve been so used to this high school experience,” said Kent Lockheart, senior from Glendale High School.

SPS is expecting around 1,700 graduates while Nixa expects 385.

“The graduation ceremony will be live-streamed, so if we have parents or members of the community who are unable to attend, we know it’s a big event, and we know it’s a special day,” said Doctor Ron L. Woodward, SPS’s executive director of secondary learning.

Glendale, Hillcrest, and Parkview’s graduation is on May 20. Central and Kickapoo’s graduation is May 21.

Ceremonies are spaces two to three hours apart so deep cleaning can happen between each ceremony.

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