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Mustangs hold outdoor ceremony

Mustangs hold outdoor ceremony

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RAYMOND – The weather was hot, but spirits were high, as the 53rd commencement ceremony took place on the Raymond Central High School football field.

The class of 2020 held a virtual graduation earlier in the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With restrictions being lifted, the school board and administration came to a decision that this class needed to have a traditional ceremony as well. They decided students would get tickets in advance, and that family units would sit together. Also decided, was the taking of temperatures and a hand sanitizing station before any attendee was allowed in the gate.

Students graduating were required to practice social distancing on the field, chairs were placed six feet apart and they each picked up their own diplomas off of the table as they were recognized individually by Allison Stansberry, who is the current principal at Raymond Central. They did elbow bumps, and air high fives as they accepted their diplomas.

Students that graduated with distinction were Kylee Polivka, Clairissa Wilson and Isaac White. Graduating with high distinction was class president and Valedictorian Katelyn Komenda. Isaac White was the salutatorian.

Isaiah Enevoldsen and Isaac White received Academic All-Conference honors. National Honor Society members that were selected due to leadership, activities, character and a 90% GPA were Logan Black, Haley Hain, Katelyn Komenda, Polivka and Wilson.

FFA state degree holders included White and Blake Stanley. National Speech and Debate Association Silver and Burgundy Tassels were given to Enevoldsen, with Premier Distinction and Haley Hain with Superior Distinction. Also receiving an award with the National Art Honor Society as an inductee was Wilson.

Vice President Haley Hain gave the welcome for the ceremony. There was pomp and circumstance as well as the recessional. The only difference was the music was played over the loudspeakers, as having the band and choir in attendance would have created another challenge to social distancing.

Graduate Caleb Shultz was unable to attend the ceremony, so a cardboard cut out represented him. Shultz shipped out on July 16 with the Army National Guard. Once he finishes training he plans on attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and major in engineering.

There were 34 graduates total. All three of the speeches, including the welcome, focused on the positives as well as the strengths that the Raymond Central class of 2020 has gone through this year.

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RAYMOND – In the past three years, Raymond Central Schools have purchased five new buses and two 14-passenger vans as a part of their push for better transportation for students, Superintendent Derrick Joel said.  

On Oct. 28, Raymond Central began the bus barn expansion project on the northern side of the high school and preschool. The $168,000 expansion will make the bus barn an eight-bay barn so the school can protect its new vehicles from weather, Joel said. 

“We’ve noticed over time our buses are out in the elements and get sun faded,” Joel said. “It just takes a toll on them, especially in the winter.”

The existing barn is 100 feet by 50 feet and has four bays. With the addition, the barn will ultimately double the amount of vehicles being housed and have an extra 25 feet on one side and 57 feet on the other, according to the district’s Director of Operations Jared Shanahan. 

Local contractor Kevin Wolfe of Wolfe Construction won the bid due to it being least costly, Joel said. 

The district was selected randomly for grant money from both the state and Environmental Protection Agency in order to purchase the five buses. The district was given $20,000 for each bus totaling out at $100,000 for all five. Joel said that the newer buses are better for the environment which was why the EPA participated in the grant. 

Shanahan said storing these vehicles will not only help in winter, but also when it comes to not needing to purchase new vehicles as often.

“While the replacement is big for the district as a whole, that money can be used elsewhere, not for replacing bus-

es as frequently,” Shanahan said. 

Joel said because of their wide range of geography and the amount of time students spend on those buses, it became time for an update. 

“They are what get our kids to school every day, they are what take our students home every day and they’re what get our kids to our activities,” Joel said. “We were to a point where we were needing to upgrade.”

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