Onsted High School valedictorian Kinsey Wagner holds up her diploma after graduating at Michigan International Speedway on Friday night. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV News.
By Jeff Steers
Onsted Community Schools Superintendent Steve Head knew the senior class of 2020 needed a unique experience after COVID-19 cancelled some of the biggest events of the school year in March.
How about a facility with nearly 80,000 seats?
Nearly 100 OHS seniors graduated at Michigan International Speedway on Friday night with parents, grandparents, relatives, and siblings looking on from vehicles.
COVID-19 made a regular graduation in the OHS gymnasium impossible due to restrictions. When MIS stepped up offering their facility, Onsted administrators jumped at it.
“OHS graduate Jennifer Hutchinson worked with us,” Head said. “This is a special class and we knew they had to get together – in one spot – one more time.”
Hutchinson works at MIS in facility rental opportunities and new business development.
Students rode in a vehicle with parents and siblings while other relatives drove on the outside lane watching and videotaping. All graduates were allowed to have up to two vehicles on the track and another in pit row watching the event.
The ceremony started with a lap around the track to Pomp and Circumstance blaring on the speedway public address system.
Head gave a short speech followed by speeches by valedictorian Kinsey Wagner and salutatorian Rylee Clairday.
Head told graduates to “do your best and push through” – good advice during the pandemic.
Onsted School Board President Todd Gentner gave a short speech before diplomas were distributed.
Each of the graduates were announced as they pulled to the finish line at MIS.
Other top 10 students at OHS included Brooke Gorney, Michael Gosselin, Morgen Head, Ashlyn Malak, Myah McAvoy, Bryn Ready, Jillian Roux, and McKenna Smith.
Class officers were Wagner as class president; Roux was vice president; Randall Strack was the class secretary; and Clairday filled the role as treasurer.
The class motto was “we have 2020 vision”; the class colors are red and white; the class flower is white rose; and the class song being “Five More Minutes” by Scotty McCreery.
The ceremony was streamed live on the district’s Facebook page.