Chesterton Tribune



CHS creates upbeat graduation ceremony for 2020 graduates

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Chesterton High School 2020 graduates and their families gathered at Chesterton Middle School, starting at 5 p.m. Friday, to form a jubilant parade through downtown Chesterton, celebrating the rite of passage in a new way to avoid spreading Covid-19. This year, CHS graduated 457 seniors and most of them participated Friday in the specially organized commencement event.

Cars sported signs and balloons, graduates were decked out in caps and gowns, parents were beaming, and members of the community stepped out along the parade route to call out congratulations and wave to the young people as they marked the end of their high school careers.

For those at the front of the line, the procession lasted a bit over an hour. For some, it took up to three hours. But the waiting didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits--the happy blare of car horns and the calls of congratulations continued throughout. An outdoor stage set up at CHS had graduates walk across as usual to receive their diplomas and personal congratulations from Duneland Schools Superintendent Dr. Chip Pettit and CHS Principal Brent Martinson.

Graduates stepped onto the stage, received their diploma, and were allowed to temporarily remove their masks for a photo. The graduation program, for the originally planned event, was also presented to students and families.

The Class motto is “It matters not what you are thought to be, but what you are.” Class song is “Unwritten”, by Natasha Bedingfield.

Senior Class Senators are Brooke Gifford, Faith Hallas, David Sharp, Makenzie Simmons (Top 5%), and Joshua Sweet (Top 5%).

A message to students, by English teacher and freshman football coach, Mr. Adam Tenbarge, offered insight and support for the students as they navigate the Covid-19 “new normal”, which so dramatically affected their senior year and graduation event.

“First and foremost, congratulations to you all!”, Tenbarge said. He said students had already gained insights and perspectives through adversity and lost opportunities that youth often don’t gain for years. Students have faced uncertainty and disappointment, loss and separation, fear and anxiety. Tenbarge assured graduates their concerns are “valid”, and though some solutions may still seem unclear, “I hope you recognize that many parents, loved ones, and staff members here today share and sympathize with your worries and frustrations.”

Tenbarge also shared with students that even in the face of all these current difficulties, “The world is getting better!” He offered bits of wisdom from Helen Keller and Katie Sowers, San Francisco 49ers offensive position coach, the first openly gay female coach in NFL history.

Helen Keller’s message “holds as much wisdom and relevance today as it did in her lifetime”, Tenbarge noted. “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

Before the Super Bowl was played, Sowers said “The most important words you can ever tell someone is ‘I believe in you.’”

Tenbarge concluded, “Let me confirm that I know, with every fiber of my being, that the CHS Class of 2020 is up to the task of resolving their individual and our collective conflicts, and in doing so, pursuing a better world for us all. I believe in you!”

A video montage of students receiving their diplomas, including the playing of “Pomp and Circumstance” by members of the CHS Wind Ensemble, the “Star Spangled Banner”, the student address, faculty address and tassel turning ceremony, will be sent to families and graduates as soon as possible.

Graduates who did not participate in the ceremony may pick up their diplomas starting on Monday, August 3, from the CHS main office.


Posted 7/27/2020




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