The Greenbush-Middle River gym sat empty on May 24— graduation day. Instead on this day, row after row of vehicles filled the grassy parking lot on an overcast day at the Greenbush Race Park parking lot for the Greenbush-Middle River Twenty-Eighth Annual Commencement ceremony, beginning at 2 pm.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state issued guidance against hosting ceremonies in gyms and stadiums, and on football fields. The rain held off to allow the 31 members of the GMR Class of 2020 to be honored on this day without interruption.
The parked vehicles faced a small stage topped by a podium and microphone and a vase full of maroon-colored dahlias— the class flower. Off to one side of the stage stood a black-covered table filled by 31 black diploma cases.
On the other side, GMR staff members Mara Gust, Sue Lieberg, and Brad Dahl sat in chairs near the stage, capturing the occasion with photo and video equipment. On that same side, Greenbush-Middle River Superintendent Larry Guggisberg sat at a table next to KQ92 radio’s Jon Michael, who was broadcasting the ceremony on 92.5 FM to those in the parking lot area and beyond.
Towards the end of the ceremony—guided by GMR Principal Sharon Schultz— graduates, one at a time, pulled up near the stage in vehicles, grabbed their diploma cases, walked atop that stage, and stood and smiled with that diploma case in hand for photos. Staying in their vehicles, family members parked momentarily in front of the stage to capture their graduate’s milestone moment. The graduates then grabbed a couple flowers from the vase before descending the stairs on the other side of the stage and heading back into their vehicles as graduates of Greenbush-Middle River High School.
Following the ceremony, the seniors and their families drove off for their parade through Greenbush. During the parade, starting at the race park and ending near LifeCare Greenbush Manor, the graduates stopped their vehicles in front of the GMR School one at a time. They remained in their vehicles to receive their gift bags. The parade came to a close just a few minutes past 3 pm, putting an official end to these seniors’ GMR chapter.
To see the full story, read the May 27 issue of The Tribune in print or online.