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