Seniors at Asotin High School will be recognized during a virtual graduation ceremony June 6.

The event will be livestreamed at 11 a.m. through Zoom after the traditional in-person ceremony was canceled.

AHS Principal Brendan Johnson said the ceremony will feature speeches from the high school’s valedictorians, salutatorians and the district’s honored teacher, Tom Tower, who will be retiring.

It will also feature a slideshow of the graduates.

“Graduation is a rite of passage in our society and obviously with the pandemic, that has thrown us a curveball, but we are trying to provide the students with the best ceremony possible considering the circumstances,” Johnson said. “As ironic as it sounds, these seniors have actually been reflected upon moreso than other graduating classes because of the pandemic. We want the seniors to know they are in our hearts and minds.”

The 43 seniors in Asotin, like millions of others across the nation, saw their school year upended after face-to-face classes were canceled earlier this year. To make up for some of the opportunities they missed out on, district staff has been working extra hard to recognize the soon-to-be graduates, Johnson said.

The tennis courts across the street from the high school have been decorated with photos of the seniors, along with a congratulatory banner. District staff will also hand-deliver caps, gowns and scholarships to the seniors at their homes Tuesday.

“It’s been a very challenging process because we are trying to do justice to all the students, but at the same time, we have to follow very tight guidelines from the Department of Health,” Johnson said.

The seniors will, however, have the opportunity to walk across the stage in their caps and gowns to receive their diplomas Thursday. The students will report to the high school at prescheduled times with social distancing guidelines in mind. The footage will then be used in the virtual ceremony.

During the virtual graduation ceremony, Johnson and Superintendent Dale Bonfield will announce the graduating class of 2020. Graduates are encouraged to wear their caps and gowns at home and will be asked to move their tassels from right to left to signify the end of their K-12 journey.

“We are trying to make it as special as we possibly can,” Johnson said. “It’s a very special group of seniors and, if for nothing else, no one will forget this graduation.”

Tomtas may be contacted at jtomtas@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2294. Follow her on Twitter @jtomtas.

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