EAGLE RIVER - "For many of us, this day has been in our calendars or in a countdown as soon as we knew the date," said Northland Pines graduate Jillian Gleason.
Graduation day at Northland Pines happened without crowd, stage or students.
"We have faced challenges that no class has experienced before," Gleason said. "We're facing a world most don't know how to navigate."
But the Class of 2020 did have resolve, and a little bit of humor.
"Good afternoon: family, friends, faculty, and people who said 'well, I guess we have nothing better to do today,'" quipped student speaker Gunnar Schiffmann.
As students opened their web browsers, they saw baby pictures, they sang together and they remembered their triumphs.
"I was fortunate enough and honored to play for Northland Pines high school hockey for the past four years," Schiffmann said. "Going into this senior hockey season, we expected great things from our team. We succeeded."
"Both our boys hockey team and our boys soccer team made it to state," said graduate Danielle Anderson. "I'm confident girls soccer would have made it too."
After all that, they finally heard their own names; a moment of catharsis after months of isolation, and before their resolve is tested once again.
"We will find our way a little easier, push ourselves a little harder, and find new opportunities in an ever-changing world, moreso than those before us," Gleason said.
And not even a pandemic could rob these graduates of their moment.
"Congratulations, Class of 2020," Anderson said. "We did it."
|Story By: Andrew Goldstein