In what was perhaps the most unusual graduation ever held in Sierra County, people from across the community came together to stage a unique celebration to honor the students in the graduating class of 2020.
Prevented from enjoying all the elements and events that usually mark graduation week, the Hot Springs High graduates were cheered by a loving community as they coursed through town in a parade that capped some rather different and amazing tributes to these students.
From city utility workers and law enforcement across all levels, to school administrators and teachers; from individuals across the county who "adopted a senior" to KCHS Radio and the Sierra County Sentinel, people and organizations made sure that the week marking the graduation of the Class of 2020 would produce memories to last a lifetime.
Banners for each grad were produced through an effort spearheaded by the 2020 Grad Bash Committee and hung by the city from lamp posts throughout town. Storefronts, offices and homes throughout the town were decorated, and sported pictures of our graduates. Shout outs were recorded by graduates to be played on KCHS Radio throughout the month and were used in the broadcast of the graduation ceremony.
The actual graduation day celebration and ceremony was conceived and organized by Hot Springs High Assistant Principal Rebecca Bartoo. With help from people spanning the community, it was structured in such a way that would both allow our graduates to be honored and their achievements recognized, while also adhering to the public health guidelines in place during the pandemic restrictions.
The celebration was kicked off with one of the biggest parades to hit the streets here in a long time. 80 vehicles of all sorts, each with a graduate and their family, were decorated in as many ways as their were vehicles. Escorted by officers from local, county and state law enforcement and headed off by the Tiger Event Bus, the parade began at the Forestry Service parking lot on Date Street and headed into town. It coursed up Main Street, turning at Bullocks Grocery and back up Broadway. Continuing out Date Street, the procession turned at Barton and headed to the high school parking lot.
The area outside the school's main entrance was set up with a stage and decorations. One at a time each vehicle let out the graduate it held, who then walked the stage, received their diploma and was photographed to preserve the moment. The entire celebration, from parade to the final diploma, was broadcast on KCHS Radio and live streamed on the KCHS/Sentinel YouTube channel, Facebook page and Twitter.
Photos from the diploma ceremony at the school will be available soon, for students and families to download free of charge on the gpkmedia.com website. More photos from the parade, and all the other activities and tributes marking graduation week will also be published here soon.
Congratulations to all the amazing graduates of the Hot Springs High Class of 2020.