Celebrating graduation

Chad Frey
Kayla Anderson receives her diploma during a drive-by graduation ceremony at Newton High School.

Graduation was a moment the class of 2020 waited for longer than most, and it looked much different than in years past.

Graduation ceremonies were celebrated Saturday at Newton High School. In the face of COVID-19, the school hosted a drive-by graduation.

In March, Gov. Laura Kelly shuttered school buildings in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. Classes moved online as students continued their work through the end of the school year in May. Winter sports state championships were canceled if not completed, and spring sports seasons were canceled. Prom also was canceled.

Also canceled, initially, were traditional graduation ceremonies at Athletic Park. The district then announced a graduation ceremony for July 31, before continuing infections in Harvey County led to the creation of a drive-by ceremony at the high school.

Families were able to drive their graduate to the front of the school, where graduates walked across a small stage and received a diploma. Graduates also had their photos taken and had the opportunity to throw their caps at a cap-throwing station before picking up a pair of sunglasses.

Henry Claassen tosses his cap at the class of 2020 graduation ceremony Saturday at Newton High School.