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Clay High School holds drive-through graduation ceremony for seniors

NOW: Clay High School holds drive-through graduation ceremony for seniors

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- It’s not a secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted normalcy and plans in people’s lives.

However, the pandemic didn’t stop Clay High School teachers, faculty and staff members to organize a drive-through graduation celebration for their senior class, handing out cap and gowns, yearbooks, senior awards, and yard signs.

Some Clay seniors said that it hasn’t necessarily been the easiest time not being able to finish out the year this way.

“It’s kind of been a little bit stressful, and a little bit fun as been because you have a little bit of free time, but yeah it kind of sucks not seeing your friends every day, not being able to finish out school the way we thought we were going to,” Clay senior Macey Ginzer said.

But, students were happy to see the love and support from their favorite teachers.

“I feel happy. This is them telling us that you know we, we did it, we completed our big stage you know. Even though we didn’t get everything that we needed as every year we did, they are here, they are here to celebrate us and congratulate us on our big moment you know,” Clay senior Brisa Creoza said.

The Clay staff who made the celebration possible said that this isn’t how they wanted things to end, but that they are proud of their students and all of their accomplishments.

“Given the circumstances in March of what happened in March and kind of persevering through that, we just really appreciate the work that they’ve done... and we also feel bad that they lose out of some of the special moments in high school,” Clay Principal Tim Pletcher said.

“I do want them to know, that they’ve always been in our hearts, that we’re very proud of them. They’ve left a legacy and even with their shortened amount of time this year and they will forever be a colonial,” Clay teacher Darcy King O’Blenis said.

Along with the Clay High School senior class, one clay teacher also didn’t get the chance to say his final goodbyes.

Clay teacher Greg Harris has been a Spanish teacher at Clay for over 40 years, and this year is his retirement year.

Harris said that he’s had a difficult time wrapping his head around the school year ending this way, but that overall, he’s happy that we was able to be a part of the colonial family and end his career with these seniors.

“With me, it’s pretty much like what happens when somebody dies that you’re close to, that you’ve got all of these expectations of a future with whatever, whomever and it’s not there anymore. So I did go through a grieving process, I’m not going to deny that. I was very sad that I wasn’t going to finish out my last year the way that I intended to finish it,” Harris said. “Just know that this isn’t the end, it really is the beginning that’s what commencement means, and I wish them lots of luck, happiness and above all lots of love.”

Coming up in July, Clay High School seniors along with other local high school seniors will have a graduation ceremony at Four Winds Field.

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