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A long line-up for graduation
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Graduation takes center stage at MC Courthouse

  • 2 min to read

The first vehicle in an extensive line of cars arrived downtown around 2:30 in the afternoon Sunday, pulling up to the front sidewalk on the south side of the Madison County Courthouse. This signaled the start of the ceremonies for the 152 members of the Winterset High School graduating class of 2020. 

A motorcade of cars and trucks could be seen lining Court Avenue from the parking lot of the soccer/softball fields east of town, waiting their turn to arrive at their courthouse destination. Arranged in alphabetical order, each vehicle had a graduate in the passenger seat, or in the back of a pickup, as all WHS seniors were eager to end the school year with the receipt of their diploma. 

Because of the pandemic, school officials had developed a creative way in which to honor their seniors, and this ceremony for the class of 2020 will certainly remain in the annals of history as extremely unique.

Ready to lead graduation

School officials welcomed the graduating seniors to the stage, one by one.

Accompanied by family members, as vehicles pulled up to the sidewalk, they were cheerfully greeted by WHS Principal Kent Abrahamson. As seniors stepped out of their vehicles, he directed them toward the stage. 

They traveled down the east sidewalk, turned a sharp left, walked a few steps then up the stairs towards their key to the future while their name was announced by Assistant High School Principal Jeremy Hilbert. 

After receiving their diploma and posing for a quick picture, they continued down the celebratory line for the opportunity to fist bump WHS Athletic Director Randy McDonald, followed by Superintendent Dr. Susie Meade standing at the end, who also offered a congratulatory bump. 

Fistbump from Superintendent Meade

After graduates received their diplomas, Winterset Schools Superintendent Susie Meade stood at the end of the line to offer them a congratulatory fist bump. This year the ceremony was held on Sunday afternoon, May 31, at the south side of the Madison County Courthouse, where family and friends could see their seniors. 

Graduates then had their picture taken on the stage with their diploma before stepping down the stairs for a professional photo and continuing down the west sidewalk to the cheers of family and friends.

Adjusting the tassel

After receiving her diploma, WHS graduate Jillian Jacobsen, takes time to move her tassel from the right side of her cap to the left.

Their families then picked them up at the corner and they headed out west to participate in a vehicle parade past the high school.

Through the sun roof

On a sunny afternoon, this senior took advantage of her sun roof before receiving her diploma.

The unique ceremony gave graduates more of an opportunity to celebrate with their families. Some loaded all family members including relatives, on a flatbed trailer and pulled them behind their vehicles. Other seniors were able to arrive sitting atop their vehicles via the sun roof, while others joined family members in the back of the family pickup. One graduate had the whole family on a flatbed, with two sheep caged on the back end. 

Senior supporters

This family sits back in a comfortable living room type setting as they watch their graduate approach the courthouse to receive his diploma.


Many vehicles were decorated with black and gold balloons or signs congratulating their seniors. 

Even though the ceremony lasted for three and a half hours, seniors finally got the graduation they deserved, families were able to participate, and many compliments were offered.

Managing editor at the Madisonian.