CHS Class of 2020 rehearses unprecedented commencement ceremony

Mike Christopherson
Members of the CHS Class of 2020 wait during Friday's rehearsal as logistics are ironed out.

Members of the Crookston High School Class of 2020, all of them wearing masks over their faces, on Friday rehearsed their highly unusual commencement ceremony in a warm CHS gymnasium.

The ceremony, originally scheduled for late May, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, instead, at the end of the school year the graduating seniors donned their caps and gowns and embarked on a parade, driving throughout the Crookston community with a police and fire escort.

The commencement ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 25. Due to social distancing requirements, each student is allowed to invite only two guests. The table that will greet guests as they arrive is stocked with plenty of hand sanitizer and boxes of disposable face masks.

HB Sound & Light Technology will livestream the commencement ceremony. Access the livestream at 

Guests invited by the graduates will not be allowed to crowd the stage area to take photos. Instead, when the graduates receive their diploma from Crookston School Board member Mike Theis, they will pause on stage and face photographers from the Crookston Times and KROX Radio, who will take photos. CHS Principal Eric Bubna during Friday's rehearsal reminded the students to keep their masks on while their photo is taken. It's unfortunate the photo won't capture their smiling faces, Bubna said, but no doubt, he added, the photo showing them wearing a mask will provide them a story to tell for years to come.

Inking their mural

The CHS Class of 2020’s senior mural, a tradition for graduating classes at the high school, also obviously reflects the impact the pandemic had on the spring of their senior year. 

Usually, senior art students lead the mural effort, but since they weren’t around this spring because of in-person instruction being shut down, art teacher Gary Stegman led the effort.

After Friday's rehearsal, the graduates lined up in the hallway and, one by one under the direction of teacher Jen Solie, signed their names on the mask-wearing Pirate face. Check out the Times' Facebook Live video on our Facebook page.