Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

2020 grads parade down Main Street


May 21, 2020

Kyle Clayton

Megan Whitermore celebrates graduation from the back of a truck on Main Street during Tuesday's parade. The ceremony was altered due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Haines High School 2020 graduating seniors participated in an unprecedented graduation ceremony due to COVID-19 social distancing health mandates. Seniors accepted their diplomas from the passenger seats of vehicles as family and friends drove by the front entrance of the school.

The vehicles then paraded down Main Street as residents offered their congratulations.

Graduates and families watched Sen. Lisa Murkowski give the commencement speech via Zoom.

A video on YouTube titled "Haines High School Class of 2020 Graduation" shows the seniors graduation procession, each student was recorded walking from various places across the borough.

Superintendent Roy Getchell and father of graduating senior Dori Getchell gave his welcome speech from the hallway of the school.

"Our grandparents, members of the greatest generation, were great because of the experiences they shared that shaped who they were, not because they were easy," Getchell said. "With confidence, I am giving you an amazing class of 2020 with a unique experience, just like the greatest generation."

Murkowski then spoke to the students for the commencement speech. She said watching the students' virtual walk is a reminder the graduation celebrates not only the students, but all those in the community who worked to shape and build the graduates.

"While this is a graduation for the class of 2020, it is also a very significant ceremony and commencement for the entire community," Murkowski said. "My congratulations go out to all of you."

Melissa Ganey

Aurora Alten-Huber

Principal Rene Martin listed student achievements. Dylan Chapell, Dori Getchell and Joseph Rossman were among National Honor Society members. Chapell, Aurora Alten-Huber and Melanie Thomas all had a 3.7 or higher cumulative GPA throughout their high school career. Alten-Huber was the class Salutatorian and Marirose Evenden was the class Valedictorian.

Evenden said she had three things to say to her peers: congrats, thank you and goodbye.

"It is clear that together we have accomplished something great," Evenden said. "We have helped each other become contributing members of a community we are lucky to call home. Reflect on our years together and say goodbye. Say goodbye to the routine, to the building, to the people who have been there for us for all these years and, most importantly, to each other."

Members of the girls and boys choirs sang via Zoom.


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