Life in the age of COVID-19 means people are working from home, students trying to learn online and for some work towards graduating as the Class of 2020.

“The month of May is usually a pretty exciting time for high school seniors. They look forward to their class trip, prom, senior banquet and graduation. This year isn’t quite how they wanted to end their senior year,” Superintendent Kimberly Rees said.

The school district has been making the last few weeks as special as they can. Graduation has been recreated and each student had a designated time to come to the gym to get dressed in their cap and gown and walk down the isle and up on stage to accept their diploma. Tim Walck and Ray Cope placed senior signs on the town square. Walck has done a “phenomenal job” recording senior spotlights, which are being streamed to the Austin Area School District’s Facebook page each day, Rees said.

Thanks to a community member who nominated the class for a free concert, the Class of 2020 will hold a virtual senior banquet on Thursday with parents preparing dinner at home while country artist Drew Baldridge performs a free concert. James Kinney and Andrea Patton are working on the annual senior roast to be presented at the banquet.

Typically, these students and their families and friends would meet at the Austin Area School gymnasium for graduation. Thanks to the teachers and staff at AHS, a graduation video has been put together by Katie Sasala and will air on the District’s Facebook page at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 29. Even though the community cannot come together physically everyone is invited to log in and watch as the Class of 2020 overcomes this obstacle and takes this opportunity to receive their diploma. Student speeches will be given as usual and Guest Speaker Ray Cope will offer words of encouragement to the Senior Class.