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Appleton holds in person graduation ceremonies, but masking required

Published: May. 27, 2021 at 6:47 PM CDT|Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 10:11 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Another sign of things returning to normal, as several area schools hold in person high school graduations on Thursday, which were canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On a rainy afternoon outside Appleton West High School students dressed in blue caps and gowns, ready to say good-bye to a school year that had plenty of COVID unknowns, which included the status of an in person graduation ceremony.

“Honestly it’s a great opportunity. I’m really excited to be able to walk in person,” said Appleton West Graduate Katelin Forbes.

Appleton West Graduate Jade Worden added, “We’re just grateful we get to have some people see us graduate, cause this is more for the parents so.”

The graduation was suppose to take place outside, at Fox Cities Stadium, but because of the rain the district had to move it back to the school where it was held inside.

As a result, capacity restrictions cut the number of people a graduate could invite from four to two.

“We wish more people could have come, parents obviously, but still we’re very happy that they’re having it tonight. We wish the weather would have been a little bit better, but still happen to be here,’ said Ann Huiting, who has a son graduating.

Appleton North made a similar adjustment, moving its ceremony inside.

However, Appleton East pushed its graduation back a day, to Friday, and while it will be outside as planned the district will require people to wear a mask, even those who have been vaccinated.

That led some school board members to question the policy earlier this week.

“I guess what I’m trying to get my head around is what drives that decision. Is it the CDC chart, or is it like you just said, is it the moderate levels because they seem to be at odds with each other,” said board member Gary Jahnke.

District officials did not wish to comment on camera Thursday when asked.

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