On Friday, July 24, families gathered on the lower field of the WCS campus to watch their graduate receive a diploma. The evening featured many familiar sights: friends congratulating each other, proud parents, enthusiastic faculty, smiling faces on the dais, and a stack of diplomas.
A few things were different of course. Each family was seated at their own table, complete with a tray of snacks and water bottles. Guests were limited but the audience was greater than 600 thanks to having the ceremony live-streamed by Emergency Productions, Inc. Chris Vander Baan, High School Principal, distributed diplomas by leaving them on a table to be picked up by each student, without his typical hearty handshake or hug.
“We are extremely thankful we were able to have a live graduation ceremony,” said Vander Baan. “I was thrilled with the fact that 100% of the guests honored the guidelines we had in place. While this graduation ceremony was different and presented new challenges, I am grateful our students and their families were honored and felt special. Our administrative team did an incredible job of making our outside venue feel cozy and safe. Families really appreciated the flowers and perennials which were gifts for them to take home.”
As with every graduation ceremony, the valedictorian and salutatorian each offered an address to their fellow students. Makenzie Gorman, valedictorian, challenged attendees to recognize the opportunities, rather than the adversity of current events. Jessye VandenAkker, salutatorian, gave thanks for the community of support during her time at WCS. Rick Lukianuk, Head of School, offered an opening prayer. Lance Engbers, recently retired Head of School, gave an oration urging students to see the world with two eyes – the eye of the mind and the eye of the heart.
“The class of 2020 was a very special group of young men and women with a wide range of diverse talents and gifts,” said Vander Baan. “They honored our school, our Lord, and each other with their upbeat, positive, never complaining attitude. I am extremely confident the lessons they learned this past spring will help them in their life journeys in college.”