Hats off to the class of 2020: TAHS holds virtual graduation ceremony



Next Saturday, May 16, 2020 a professional video will be created and released at 2:00 p.m. by the Tea Area School District showing the Tea Area High School Class of 2020 graduates walking across the stage to receive their diplomas.

Last week, each student, accompanied by their family entered the High School to film this milestone achievement. The students walked across the stage in front of their family and a handful of school district employees, a much different scene than the typical packed gymnasium during past graduation ceremonies. Don McLeer Photographic Art was present to take photos of this unique event, see page 14.

The virtual celebration concludes a unique year for the Class of 2020. The upheaval began on March 17, 2020, when South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced that there would be no school across the state for one week due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. That one week, turned into one month, and that turned into the remainder of the school year.

Many of the events that Seniors look forward to as their last high school experiences were canceled, such as prom, State A Basketball Tournaments, and spring sports. The cancellations in no way diminish the achievements of the students however, and that is what Tea Area High School principal Collin Knudson focuses on.

“Class of 2020, thank you for being wonderful stewards and leaders for this school and district. You have proven that you are a class to remember. Thank you for your resilience and dedication. Thank you for your leadership, service and being true Titans – we’re definitely going to miss you,” Knudson said.

During the virtual ceremony, a welcome will be provided by Principal Knudson and the Pledge of Allegiance will be recited by Caden Hank, Senior Class Officer. Kristen Daggett, School Board President and Dr. Jennifer N. Lowery, Superintendent of Schools, will award the diplomas. Jaqualyn DeYoung will provide the Valedictorian Speech and Isabella Hageman will provide the Salutatorian Speech. Keynote speaker for the ceremony will be John Niesen, Tea Area High School Teacher.

The Class Song is listed as “Day One” by Janice Gilbert, and is in memory of classmate Destiny Karpinen.

The 2020 Class motto is, “Chase your dreams, but always know the road that will lead you home again,” from Tim McGraw.

In the Commencement program it reads, “The Class of 2020 would like to thank the following people for their help in preparing for our Commencement Ceremony: Junior Class Attendants: Ellie Ritter, Jaya Wilson, Tiffany Young, Hannah Hank, Austin Lake, Garrett Kolbeck, Cooper Leslie, Carter McGregor. Special Thanks to: Our Faculty, Administrators, Maintenance Staff, The Graduation Committee, and Our Parents & Families.

“We are here today to recognize and honor the graduates from the Tea Area High School Class of 2020. Today marks the 17th commencement ceremony for the Tea Area School District.

“Let us celebrate the accomplishments of every student who walks across the stage today and receives a Tea Area High School diploma. Each student has committed many years to learn, persevere, grow, and achieve the honor of becoming a Titan Graduate. These students have earned our respect and admiration.

“While today marks the end of one chapter, tomorrow opens a new chapter for these Graduates.

“On behalf of the entire faculty and staff, I wish all of our Titan Graduates the best of success in all future endeavors. You’ll do great! Congratulations Class of 2020,” Collin Knudson High School Principal.

The program also includes a statement from Tea Area School’s Superintendent Dr. Jennifer N. Lowery. It reads, “It is an honor to be part of this momentous day for the 17th graduating class of the Tea Area School District. The Class of 2020 has laid a foundation of excellence as our District continues to build its legacy. On behalf of the faculty, staff, Board of Education, and myself, I wish you well as you begin the next stage of your life.”

The commencement program will include recognition of awards, distinctions, and accomplishments.  Graduates will be encouraged to sign in and watch the ceremony on May 16 together as a class on Zoom (all Titan graduates will have access to a closed network to watch the video together) and Youtube, as it is live streamed to the public for the first time.

Later this summer, the traditional TAHS Commencement will be held Saturday, July 25th, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. The day will only be allowed within CDC guidelines of the date.  Should large gatherings not be allowed, the ceremony would be cancelled.

The 2020 graduating class of Tea Area High School includes the following students: Carson Lee Adema, David Anico, Kayla Kristine Aymar*^, Samantha Jo Bach, Kellen James Barron^, Caitlyn LaRae Baumgart^, Matthew Aaron Beetsch, Nathaniel Jerrud Blegen*^, Soren Markus Brands*^, Tanner Jay Cameron, Garret Mathew Campbell, Vivian Mary Cazer*, Bailey Renee Conrad^, Elizabeth Pearl Cordie*^#, Andrew George Cox, Emma Baker Daggett*^#, Rhett Lawrence Baker Daggett*^#, Justin Marcus Dan^, Xavier Zane Dannen*^, Haidyn Alan DeJean*^, Hudson Ray DeJean*^, Jaqualyn Joyce DeYoung*^#, Belina Meri DiBonto, Madison Paige Diehl, Cooper Justin Dixon^, Destiny Rose Dunkelberger, James Lee Dunkelberger, Cole Douglas Ebert, Anna Christine Eikmeier*, Luke Michael Elkins^, Eathen James Erck^, Phoebe Christine Flaskey*^#, Keith Lavandas Forrest Jr, Brayden Dean Fowlds, Hunter Thomas Frankenstein, Ethan Lee Froendt*, McKenna Rose Furman, Karly Rae Garry*^, Kristyn Paige Garry*, Noah Sidney Gass*^#, Kiet Allen Gilberts, Isaiah David Hackrott, Isabella Marie Hageman*^#, Ezra Jonathan Hagen*^, Caden Gary Hank^#, Kjerstin Arleen Hansen, Elizabeth Nadine Hartl, Josette Kathleen Haugse, Tucker Hawkey, Katie Jane Hayworth*^#, Joseph Charles Headrick, Jon Alan Heidinger*, Jack Thomas Hilt, Kimberlee Elaine Hindberg*^, LeAnn Marie Hoffard, Kierra Jo Holmes, Cameron Mitchell Hoon*, Jacob Michael Hyland*^#, Ethan Scott Jaacks*, Benjamin Leland Jibben*, Hunter Dean Johnson, Jarret Warren Johnson^#, Jaeya Alie Jones^#, Shaden Ryan Jorgenson, Amber Elizabeth Kelly*^, Brianna Mae Kepler, Samuel Lee Kettelman, Tristan James Keyes, Karsyn Kay Kleinwolterink*^#, Samantha Lee Ann Kloos*^#, Jordan Mikal Knutson, Brianna Lynn Kolb, Emersen Nicole Konda*^#, DeLaney Renee Charlotte Krogh*, Allison Faith Larson, Jesse Lee Laue*, Alexia Rose LeKander^#, Riley Lucas Lerew, Katherine Skylar Lien*^#, Meghan Viola Rae McDaniel*, Grace Catherine McLeer*^#, Ethan Michael Olson, Sage Alan Oltmanns*^, Olivia Grace Opoien, Joshua Todd Panning^, Preston Ronald Parmelee*^#, Desirae Ann Patzwald*^#, Maxwell Jonah Peterson^#, Brady Christian Pfeifer, Kylie Joy Powers*, McKenna Lynn Rentsch, Aydan James Roberts, Maggie Mae Rodriguez, Bryton William Schlunsen, Riley Marlo Schnider, Tryna Ann-Marie Schoenfelder^, Makayla Loye Burnette Schroder, Grant Weldon Schwarten*, Timothy Austin Sharits, Abbygayle Lynn Shultis, Jeremy Dale Skoog, Leonard Wayne Stewart Jr*^, Taylor Lynn Stout*^#, Cierra Lynn Stueven*^, Connor Ryan Tapia*, Aspen Rose Taylor*^#, Aspyn Nicole Thomassen^, Brayden Jay Thompson*^#, Drayzdin Leigh Thompson*^, Briahnna Rae Thooft, Kayleigh Ann Juline Turner, Lance Harvey Tvedt, Katherene Mae Unruh, Elizabeth Jo Van Zee, Joseph Francis Walnofer^#, Noah Michael Westhoff^, Brooklyn Marie Willemssen*^#, Jared Michael Wipf*^#. (Symbols denote — *Regents Diploma, ^Honor Graduate 3.5 & Above GPA, #National Honor Society Member)

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