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The 2020 graduating class of Ellensburg High School is too large to safely host a conventional graduation ceremony, so the district had to come up with some unconventional solutions.

While it may still host a modified graduation at the end of July if possible, the district has filmed a video graduation that will be released on June 19.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, graduating seniors were called to EHS in groups of eight at a time. These eight students were in their full graduation robes and caps. They were led to the gymnasium where they picked up their diploma and, one at a time, shook the hand of Principal Beau Snow, who was wearing a mask and gloves. The entire event was recorded by local videographer Jerry Alldredge.

Alldredge used to teach in the district and was the librarian in Mount Stuart Elementary from 1995 to 2015. Because of this, he recognized many of the students graduating, which he described as a “proud moment.”

“I want to produce a video that is going to honor the accomplishments of this class and that they will feel good about, and give them something to remember,” Alldredge said. “I definitely want to give it my best and make it really something special for them.”

Alldredge said he is essentially done with filming the video, aside from some backdrops that may be edited into the video. The editing will likely take a couple of weeks, and the district plans to release the video June 19.

EHS Activities Coordinator Haley Namboychik said students wanted as close to a real graduation as possible, and this was the best option possible for a graduating class of around 250. Assistant Principal Ole Hall said Namboychik came up with the plan for a video graduation, as well as plan B through Z in case anything went wrong.

“It’s a lot of planning and then not knowing what is going to happen, and thinking it through about 13,000 times,” Namboychik said. “We are trying to do the best we can with a really lousy situation.”

Preston, Emma and Grace Oldham are the only triplets graduating in the EHS 2020 class, and they are all in the National Honor Society. They are trying to make the best of the situation, even though it “sucks.” Preston knows it is not as cool as having a “real graduation” but thinks the school is doing its best under the circumstances.

“I think it is a little different, but I also think, in a way it is going to bring us all closer together,” Grace said. “We are all experiencing the same difficulties during this.”


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