Warriors graduate together, outside; ELCA graduates 25

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local
Lebanon High School graduated 222 students this year in a ceremony that was close to normal, despite COVID.
Guest seating was reserved to four guests per graduate, and chairs were spread out along the field to accommodate social distancing.
“This was just as difficult to prepare for as last year because we had capacity restrictions based on floating from extreme to high risk levels in the county,” said Principal Craig Swanson.
In case Linn County elevated to the extreme risk category again, the school had an extensive plan in place to host three ceremonies similar to last year’s graduation, he said. But as it stands, the Class of 2021 was excited to be able to celebrate together in a single ceremony.

“This school year provided the most significant challenges to how we educate that we have ever faced,” Swanson said. “It was difficult for our students to adjust to the pandemic way of doing things, and had to deal with losing out on the bulk of a school year.”
But Swanson pointed out both the students and staff worked hard to end the year on a successful note.
“We were not perfect by any means, as there were so many obstacles in play throughout this year,” he said.
“Our staff did not give up on our kids, though, and we consistently got better throughout the year and are ending this year on a high note with the 2021 commencement.”
When asked about looking back on the past school year in light of COVID, Supt. Bo Yates said, “There is no looking back; there’s no time to look back because we’re going to start summer school as soon as we get through our regular school.”
The school district will begin summer school classes after a two-day end-of-year break, to help students make up for lost credit, and will work with the Boys & Girls Club to provide recreational activities.
“We want to do whatever we can for kids to make it, to honor them and the years they’ve put in to school at this point,” he said.
Valedictorians this year were Lisi Benjamin, Zachary Campbell, Kianna-Lyn Guzon, Jacob MacLaughlin-Johnson, Kimberly O’Hara, Matthew Sandberg, Cherish Sparling, Emma Squires, Kylie Steiner, Porter Tiffee, Cole Weber. The salutatorian was Kyrstin Scott.