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By James McAfee/The Knox County News-Courier—
The high school classes of 2020 in Knox County will receive their diplomas this week in their respective stadiums after finishing up their studies at home instead of in schools closed because of the COVID-19 virus.Munday’s ceremonies are scheduled at 8 p.m. Friday at Scruggs Field, Benjamin’s at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Ben Grill Field and Knox City’s at 8 p.m. Saturday at Greyhound Stadium. Special social distancing procedures have been planned for all the ceremonies.
Munday graduates and families have been assigned certain spots to park. Families will be seated on the field and the students in the home stands. Salutatorian Sydney Thompson and valedictorian Bryanne Cude will make live speeches instead of being recorded, Diplomas will not be handed out. Instead, they will be spread out on a table. When the name of the student is called, he/she will pick up a diploma and go to West end zone to get picture taken. Graduates will then continue through the North gate to his/her vehicle to take part in a parade.
At the Benjamin ceremony, each graduate will be allowed to invite up to 10 family members/guests, who will have designated areas to sit on the football field when allowed to enter at a scheduled time. The program will include speeches from valedictorian Savanna Hawkins and salutatorian Jalen Barrientez as well as the announcement of scholarships. Graduates will receive their diplomas and then be presented as graduating seniors.
Following the graduation ceremony, the seniors will go on a short parade to give families, friends and residents an opportunity to honk, wave and offer well wishes to the graduates. The parade will end at W. Goree and Highway 6. The graduates will then be dropped off at the community center so that they may be picked up by their families.
Knox City students will be allowed a limited number of seats per person. Spectators will be seated on the field and in the home-side bleachers. The ceremony will include a speaker along with addresses by valedictorian Klarisa Hernandez and salutatorian Raylee Ledesma. Graduates will come up to the stage to receive their diplomas and awards all at one time and pose for a photo.
On release, students will go to their vehicles and will be followed by a scheduled release of spectators. At that time, the graduates will be escorted down Main Street in their vehicles for anyone to line the streets and see.
Benjamin will conduct its eighth-graduation ceremony at 10 a.m. on Friday while O’Brien Junior High will have graduation at 8 p.m. Friday at the Knox City stadium; both following the same social distancing procedures as the high schools.