Graduation returns to the gym

52 seniors to receive diplomas at traditional ceremony

By Per Peterson

Last year’s Tracy Area High School graduation was unlike any other. This year’s represents a return to normal.

The pandemic that gripped the nation, and the world, late last winter forced high schools all over the country to think outside the box when it came to graduation ceremonies. At Tracy Area High School, that meant heading outside to the parking lot and handing students diplomas in Ziploc bags in a first-of-its-kind, drive-thru event.

To its credit, the school district pulled it off. The weather was perfect as the school honored 69 graduates the best it could. But this year, the traditional ceremony will make a triumphant return, as 52 members of the Class of 2021 will go through graduation ceremonies in the high school gym at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 30.

Originally, each graduate was allowed four reserved seats on the gym floor on a first come-first served basis, and up to five guests in the bleacher area. However, as of May 12, there will be no limits, so anyone can attend. However, as usual, each graduate is allowed only up to four chairs on the floor.

Registration will not be required.

“Quite a change from a year ago — it’s a nice change,” TAHS Principal Kathy Vondracek said. “We get to be inside, the class gets to sit together. It will be nice to have everything as close to normal as we can.”

This year’s speakers are Angie Yang (welcome), Rachel Przybilla (past), Jolie Pond (present), Jenna Spanovich (future) and Louitym Vue (farewell). The tassel turner is teacher Heather Kamrud.

A reception line will be formed after the ceremony as per tradition — outside if weather permits, in a hallway in the high school if not. All graduates and attendees will be required to wear a mask. Doors at the high school will open at 1:15 p.m.

About the only thing that will be missing from this year’s commencement ceremony will be the band and choir, who won’t be able to perform in person because of space issues.

“You’ve gotta have room for families and the community, but that’s a tough break,” said Vondracek. “But we can have all our students speak, and they can march in — just that little stuff will be nice to do. It’s a big deal.”