Athens Class of 2020 to graduate inside Alumni Stadium

Athens Township Supervisor Tressa Heffron reads a proclamation on Friday that declared June 5 as Athens Area High School Class of 2020 Graduates Day.

ATHENS — Despite all of the restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Athens Area High School Class of 2020 will still be celebrating their graduation inside Alumni Stadium.

According to school officials, the Class of 2020 will walk onto the football field at Alumni Stadium in groups of 25 to be awarded their diplomas. The ceremony is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 6.

“We are proud to announce that we will have graduation in Alumni Stadium, on Alumni Field where it should be for every Athens Wildcat,” Athens High School Principal Corey Mosher said.

Mosher made the announcement on Friday afternoon during a ceremony where the Athens Township Supervisors proclaimed June 5 as Athens Area High School Class of 2020 Graduates Day. On hand for the announcement were Athens Township Supervisors Tressa Heffron and Kirstie Lake as well as Superintendent Craig Stage and members of the Class of 2020.

“We want you guys to have those memories as you return every year for homecoming and other events to know you graduated on the field with your parents watching — in their vehicles of course,” Mosher told the students on hand. “We’ll make sure we practice social distancing, wear masks and do everything that we are supposed to do, but we are really, really happy that we are able to do that and create some lifelong memories for you guys. You worked 13 years to get here and you certainly deserve it.”

The graduates will receive a copy of the proclamation from Athens Township at the ceremony on June 6.

“The Athens Township Supervisors acknowledge that these seniors have worked so diligently to get to this day, only to be denied the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments with the expected pomp and circumstance,” part of the proclamation states. “The Athens Township Supervisors wish to recognize these fine young men and women for their life milestone, and wish them the very best as they embark on their new journey. You are our future and we are enormously proud of each and every one of you.”

While the Class of 2020 will be heading onto the field at Alumni Stadium in groups of 25, when everyone has received their diploma they will all join together to participate in a parade of vehicles, according to district officials.

For Stage, allowing the Class of 2020 to receive their diplomas in Alumni Stadium was important.

“For me as a superintendent, I was talking to Mr. Mosher and the other high school administrators and senior class officers, (and) my three things were number one, I think it has to happen in Alumni Stadium if we can do it. Number two, they have to be able to walk and get it. And number three, the parents have to be there to see it. Those were my three criteria and they went from there. It’s pretty remarkable,” Stage said. “I just feel like that’s why we have Alumni Stadium. That’s why it’s named Alumni Stadium, so it was mission critical for us.”

Members of the Athens High Class of 2020 are excited to get a chance to graduate on the school’s football field like the classes before them.

“I’ve been here for so long, and it’s just something special that everybody goes through and something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It’s great that I can actually get on the field and do that,” said Athens senior Chase Minnick on getting to graduate inside Alumni Stadium.

Pat McDonald can be reached at (570) 888-9643 ext. 228 or editor@morning-times.com. Follow Managing Editor Pat McDonald on Twitter @PatMcDonaldMT.

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