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