Despite unusual circumstances, Breckenridge High School honored their senior class of 2020 with a drive-in ceremony held on sunny Sunday, May 31.

“Class of 2020, you are a shining example of Breckenridge Pride – inspiring to excel. This community honors you, supports you and stands with you today in celebration,” Superintendent Diane Cordes said.

High schoolers in Minnesota were not able to have a typical graduation ceremony because of the coronavirus pandemic and state guideline restrictions. But Breckenridge senior graduates held on to their maturity, uniqueness and resilience during this trying time.

“Graduates, I have never been more proud of a class than of yours. You have walked through your senior year with flexibility and dignity,” Cordes said. “Our country and the world are experiencing pain and unrest right now. They are looking for our next generation of leaders to step forward with courage to make critical and positive changes that are desperately needed. You are part of that generation.”

Cordes introduced the first senior speaker, Carson Hought. During high school, he participated in football, baseball, hockey and the National Honor Society. He also received the Cum Laude award for maintaining a grade point average of 3.69-3.50 throughout high school.

“Today we remember all of the memories and achievements that we had both in and out of the classroom of our time as a Breckenridge cowboy or cowgirl. As you look back I hope you find joy, happiness and laughter as you think about all of the great memories and experiences that you had throughout your student career,” Hought said. “Each one of us had the same goal – to simply graduate and guess what? We did that, through all kinds of adversity, we pushed through and found success.”

Emma Ihland and McKenzie Christensen also provided a senior address during graduation.

Ihland participated in basketball, track, volleyball, mathletes, National Honor Society and St. Mary’s youth group. She received the Summa Cum Laude award for maintaining a grade point average of 4.00-3.90 throughout high school.

“COVID-19 or not, you are here, and that is what’s important,” Ihland said. “We made it. Which means it’s time to celebrate. Explore with me, through the word ‘celebrate’ how we will go forward.”

Ihland created an acronym for CELEBRATE: As one Chapter opens another closes, be Empowered through education, thank you for the Leadership from teachers and coaches, Everyone in the senior class was unique, Believe in yourself every day, be Resilient through a time of great difficulty, Appreciate family support, Thrive in your life, be Excited where life will take you.

Christensen was involved as a wrestling manager, speech club, mathletes, drama club, National Honor Society, junior and senior class representative, senior class president and senior school representative. She received the Summa Cum Laude award for maintaining a grade point average of 4.00-3.90 throughout high school.

“Even though this isn’t the most traditional ceremony, we still did it. We did it class of 2020. We finished so many years of school and we made millions of memories along the way. This journey is something we will never forget. After this crazy senior year, it’s hard to remember what we are doing this for – we are following our dreams,” Christensen said.

After the last senior address was given by Christensen, vehicles lined up and drove past the school for students to accept their diplomas from the passenger side of the vehicle.

School board member Steve Arnhalt presented diplomas to the class of 2020. All 60 students in the senior class graduated.

While this year’s graduation ceremony was one like no other and veered sharply from the traditional route, students and families made the best of the day by decorating their vehicles with balloons, photographs of graduates and painted-on congratulatory notes.

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