LE ROY — It wasn’t quite the graduation rehearsal students might have expected.
The 95 members of Le Roy’s Class of 2020 conducted a dry run on a bright Friday morning at Hartwood Park in the last few hours of their high school career. Their procession took them onto the school football field, to chairs kept far apart.
But still: In about 48 hours they’d be making the walk and collecting their diplomas as they enter into a new phase of life.
And in that sense, the seniors were just like any other class sizing up their futures.
“It’s kind of a relief, because you know you’re not in high school anymore and you’re kind of more independent,” said Andrew Englerth. “But it’s also sad because you’ve grown up with everyone around you in the school, and you’re just used to everyone knowing everyone.”
“I think it’s an unfortunate situation with the whole COVID-19, but I’m really proud of our class for being able to get out here, keep good thoughts, and go through graduation,” added Kaylynn Cone.
The coronavirus, of course, scrambled the entire second half of the school year for students nationwide. Friday’s rehearsal marked the first time Le Roy’s seniors had been together since classes were canceled indefinitely in March.
The students will be emerging into a world that’s different than any previous class in recent memory has experienced. It’s affecting their future plans.
Englerth plans to study business and Brockport State College but is holding off at the moment.
“If they don’t have any sports or you can’t go to college, I don’t plan on attending until it clears up,” he said. “For work, we have a family farm. But for many others I’m sure it’s hard to find a job right now.”
Cone will be studying at Genesee Community College to become a veterinary technician.
“For me it doesn’t really affect college too much,” Cone said. “It will just be online classes for the first however long it us, until it clears up. Which is not a problem because now I’m doing it online.”
The students were treated to free pizza and doughnuts once the rehearsal was over. And they got to participate in a socially-distanced yearbook signing — they were especially impressed with their yearbooks this year.
Any graduation is meaningful, said High School Principal Tim McArdle. They ceremony will be outside this year, but they’re following the guidelines and making sure the class has the maximum graduation experience.
The school will be having a dinner dance for the students once the nation emerges from the COVID-19 crisis.
“Under the circumstances, it’s a different feeling,” McArdle said. “What I think we’ve done here is maximized the graduation experience. It’s more than just today — things we’ve done before and things we’ve done after, culminating to a special time for our knights.”
“I wish it was more of a normal graduation, but I’m glad we’re still able to get a graduation, and to be able to hang out and do our yearbooks, and be able to do something about it,” said senior Felicity Schramm.