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Together one last time

Minneota High School graduates class of 45 seniors in outdoor ceremony on Friday evening

Photo by Deb Gau Members of the Minneota High School 2020 graduating class waited to march to an outdoor commencement ceremony at K.P. Kompelien Field on Friday night. In order to follow social distancing guidelines, seating at the event was limited, and chairs were spaced out in the outfield.

MINNEOTA — The Minneota class of 2020 was supposed to have a great last year of high school, graduates said. But things changed in a hurry because of COVID-19. Sports tournaments were canceled — just before the Minneota girls basketball team was set to play in the state semifinals. Then in-person classes, and school milestones like prom were all gone, said 2020 co-valedictorian Natalie Bot.

“We went from the class with a 20/20 vision for the future, to the senior skip day champions,” joked Minneota High School senior class president Katherine Konold, as she addressed her classmates.

But while nobody could have predicted how their final year would go, MHS grads said it taught an important lesson.

“Our class has definitely learned not to take anything for granted,” said co-valedictorian Molly Krog.

The 45 members of the Minneota High School class of 2020 graduated Friday evening in an outdoor ceremony. The change in scenery was another first for the school. The chance for a more traditional program, even if it was outdoors, was one of the reasons MHS waited until late June to hold its graduation, said Minneota Superintendent Dan Deitte.

“It was an intentional thing,” Deitte said. Organizers hoped that some of the restrictions on public gatherings might be lifted by graduation day.

In order to comply with social distancing guidelines, seating was limited, and graduates and spectators alike were spread out in chairs in the grass at K.P. Kompelien Field.

Commencement speakers reflected on their time in high school, as well as on the uncertainties of this spring. Krog said it was hard to end the school year so suddenly.

“I always thought we would have those last few days together to say goodbye,” she said. Krog challenged her classmates not to wait to tell friends and loved ones how they feel.

The class of 2020 has always gone above and beyond what’s expected, said salutatorian Rachel Vlaminck. While in class that enthusiasm could do things like stretch a class debate out for days, she said it will help graduates as they go out into the world.

“We have shown we have the drive,” to accomplish anything, she said.

Co-valedictorian Cecilia Rabaey told her classmates to remember how important their connections with teachers, friends and family were. Together, Rabaey said, “We are capable of amazing things.”

“We are no longer a class. We must be friends,” she said.

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