COVID-19 won’t stop Dodge City High School Senior Class of 2020 from being recognized by USD 443 for their accomplishments.

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COVID-19 won’t stop the Dodge City High School Senior Class of 2020 from being recognized by USD 443 for its accomplishments.

On May 14, the last day of school for seniors, the lights at the DCHS tennis courts, Memorial Stadium, Demon Field, and Legends Ballpark will be turned on from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. to honor the academic accomplishments of the 2020 senior class.

This practice has been demonstrated in communities all over the country.

Additionally, that evening, a congratulatory graphic with the senior class message will run on the video board at the stadium.

Seniors and other people wanting to see the graphic are encouraged to drive on the north side of the stadium on Morgan Road.

“This isn’t a graduation, it’s a recognition of seniors,” said DCHS principal Jacque Feist.

On May 16, a more formal tribute in the form of a slide presentation, showing all 2020 seniors that have completed high school, will be featured on the district website.

Feist said she approached the senior class leadership in the middle of April via Zoom about how they would like to proceed with commendation events due to COVID-19 interference, postponing traditional graduation events.

During the brainstorming session, they passed along their recommendations to Feist, who then presented their ideas shortly to the Board of Education. The plans were approved on April 27.

“I am most proud of our senior representatives, because as much as graduation is a big deal — and it is big deal — you (high school seniors) worked 18 years of school, to get to this point.

"They understand that with the situation in our community right now, and in our state and in our nation, it is not worth the risk of potential health consequences,” said Feist.

The senior class did not want either of these days to be synonymous with their own graduation ceremony, holding out in hopes of a real graduation ceremony later in the summer at the United Wireless Area. They are even prepared to wait until next May, to hold their own graduation, separate from the Class of 2021.

“They’re not interested in celebrating this at the cost of it causing harm to their family members and friends, and I couldn’t be any prouder of them for looking at this from a mature perspective,” said Feist. “Maybe we should take lessons sometimes from teenagers for the ways we tackle things.”