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Posted July 26, 2020
Plymouth High School celebrated the Class of 2020 with virtual Commencement Exercises on Sunday July 26.
The virtual ceremony featured a graduation video, with traditional components such as commencement addresses, an Alumni Hall of Fame induction announcement, and the reading of the names of those graduates who wished to participate.
The processional, with paired photos of graduates in their caps and gowns, was accompanied by archive audio of the PHS Band playing “Pomp and Circumstance.”
Grace Mooney, Student Council president, led the Pledge of Allegiance and announced the newest inductee into the PHS Alumni Hall of Fame: Chuck Schumacher, of the Class of 1969.
PHS Principal Jennifer Rauscher explained the school’s cum laude system and the different color stoles worn by students: orange for cum laude, silver for magna cum laude, and gold for summa cum laude, the highest recognition.
Dr. Rauscher introduced Class Exemplar Dallas Kreisa, chosen by a panel of adults to represent the Class of 2020 based on her stellar academic work, extensive extracurricular involvement, and leadership skills.
Dallas noted that while everyone in the Class of 2020 has had his or her own unique experiences, there is one experience they all have had together: “This spring caused changes for everyone and has taught us the biggest lesson of your high school careers: never to take a moment or opportunity for granted.”
She encouraged her classmates to run for that office, go out for that club or sport, join that organization, or take that class. “We never know what opportunities are waiting for us if we just put ourselves out there and try new things,” she said.
Dallas said she wanted to participate in the FFA Dairy Judging team, but was reluctant to put herself forward. Her mother encouraged her to get out of her comfort zone. “Looking back, the connections, skills and memories I made have been 100 percent worth it,” she said.
She urged her classmates to continue to live in the moment as they move on to school, work, training. “Don’t take your relationships for granted. Show others how much they are appreciated. Do everything like it could be your last. Learn from these experiences and show your heart. Don’t leave any regrets and, most of all, don’t take a moment for granted.”
The Senior Choir chose “See You Again” by Charlie Puth as the Senior Song.
Superintendent Carrie Dassow congratulated the graduates and thanked the families, teachers, staff, and community for their support of the students.
“I know this journey has been much different than you anticipated,” she said. “You have had many challenges to overcome. But I encourage you to hold onto your dreams and the things that you are passionate about.”
Whatever path graduates take forward, Dr. Dassow hopes the Plymouth School District has provided them with the knowledge, skills, confidence and courage to achieve their dreams and make the world a great place for all. “Because you have taken advantage of the excellent education the Plymouth community has provided you, your dreams will be achieved and your next journey will be one with many opportunities in which you are now ready to embark upon.”
The seniors chose Dan Lamb, social studies teacher and Student Council advisor, as their speaker. He noted that, like the graduates, he likes to plan things out.
“But this year has taught us that life throws us curveballs – world crises or outside developments, things that we have no control over,” he said. “They can foil our plans.”
He had three messages for the graduates:
“So, in conclusion, 40 years from now you can do what I just did,” he said. “You can reminisce about all of your life’s curveballs. Some will be real curveballs, some will be footnotes, and some crises will have a silver lining. Covid-19 will be on your list in one of those three categories.”
After sharing the poem “Vocation Blessing” by Sister Ita Ford, Dr. Rauscher read the names of graduates, as slides with their senior portrait and future plans were displayed.
Kaitlynn Fischer, 2020 Class President, directed graduates to shift their tassels and gave the closing remarks. “Even though this school year started off strange with the construction at the high school, and ended unusually with online learning, I would like to remind everyone that just because the beginning of 2020 didn’t go according to plan, this doesn’t mean that we can’t make something amazing out of the end of 2020.”
The recessional featured photos of PHS bands with an audio recording of the school song.
• See a photo gallery of PHS grads in their graduation regalia.
• Read a profile about class exemplar Dallas Kreisa.
• Read about the $1.1 million in scholarships earned by the Class of 2020.
• Meet the 2020 Plymouth High School Academic Scholars.
• See a list of PHS graduates who will be serving in the military.
• Many PHS athletes will continue their sports careers in college.