'It means something:' Greendale HS seniors mull graduation options as mass gatherings remain banned

GREENDALE -- Between the pomp and circumstance and caps and gowns, graduation is the pinnacle moment of high school for many. In Greendale, school administrators are working with students to ensure that this year's ceremony goes on at some point.

It's a moment that high school seniors get just once.

Alyssa Tomczak

"It's kind of important for a lot of people to receive your diploma in front of your friends and family. It means something to you," said Greendale High School senior Alyssa Tomczak.

Amid stay at home orders, canceled events and closures, Greendale school administrators felt the anxiety from the class of 2020, not knowing if graduation would still happen.

Kim Amidzich

"While there may have been some initial excitement of, 'Yay! No school,' it was replaced with worry and angst about not having that experience that they had really been dreaming about and planning for," Kim Amidzich, Greendale Schools superintendent, said.

That's why the administration made a commitment, sending a letter to the senior class. In the letter, students are congratulated on their accomplishments -- like the marching band playing in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade -- and, calming student's nerves, told that they will eventually have the opportunity to receive their diplomas together.

Steve Lodes

"That's one of the things that I say at every graduation is that you're never going to get this experience, this group of people back together like you are sitting here today at graduation," said Greendale High School Principal Steve Lodes. "We just want them to be able to have that moment."

COVID-19 has postponed that moment for now as the district aims to protect its people and their high school memories moving forward. Students now have a say in how that graduation ceremony will be held. They are waiting to pick a date and time until the situation calms down.