55 Heritage Park graduates have 'year to remember'

Heritage Park graduate Austin Clayton walks down the sidewalk in front of Heritage Park High School as school staff applauds during graduation ceremonies on Wednesday.

As graduations go, the Class of 2020 at Heritage Park High School had one to remember Wednesday evening.

Teachers in the parking lot in front of the school were blowing big soap bubbles that floated on the breeze of a chilly spring evening.

And a line of vehicles filled with family members lined up on Buckland Square, ready for the school’s fifth commencement and first drive-through graduation.

“It’s unique,” Austin Clayton said as he stood in his cap and gown, waiting to be the first of 55 seniors to cross the stage and pick up his diploma. “There probably won’t be another like it.”

He’s on his way to the U.S. Marine Corps now, he said.

His family drove alongside Clayton as he walked to the stage.

He picked up his diploma, walked alone across the stage in front of the entrance to the school and posed for a picture.

Teachers and family members cheered.

“I love the idea,” Dylan Campbell said as he prepared to cross the stage. “It’s nice of all the teachers and administrators to come out for us.”

He’s on his way to Huntsville, Alabama, to work in the space industry, he said.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Cindy Alveraz said as she waited her turn.

“I wish it was normal,” she said. “But it’s definitely a time to remember.”

Alvarez said she plans to “be a mommy” and go to college next.

A truck filled with family members and decorated with balloons followed her as she walked to the stage.

Michelle Ruckdeschel, the school’s principal, said, “This is really a year to remember.”

She said the school is producing a video of the graduation to send to the graduates.

And they’ll get a commencement address after all.

One will be added to the video, Ruckdeschel said.

“There’s no special music this year,” she said. “We’re hoping to do that later this summer. The three county high schools want to have an in-person event later.”

Keith Lawrence 270-691-7301 klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

Keith Lawrence 270-691-7301


(1) comment

Caitlin Davidson

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