ST MARYS — St. Marys Area High School held its 2020 graduation ceremony Saturday, with 168 seniors receiving their diplomas.

Originally scheduled for Friday evening, the ceremony was moved to Saturday because of the threat of inclement weather, said Principal Joe Schlimm.

The ceremony, broadcast on River 98.9 radio and Facebook Live, was held at Dutch Country Stadium, and followed by a “parade of graduates” who were led through downtown St. Marys.

The parade route took the students, dressed in their bright red and blue cap and gowns, past South St. Marys Street Elementary School, around the Diamond, all the way to Center Street and then back to the high school.

South St. Marys Street Elementary administrators and teachers also participated in saying “farewell” to its own students and the seniors, lining the sidewalks with signs as the parade of cars passed by.

Schlimm encouraged all members of the community to tune in on Facebook or via radio that evening to support 2020 graduates and all they have faced throughout the coronavirus pandemic, or to line the sidewalks downtown during the parade.

City of St. Marys Police cars and first responder vehicles lit up South St. Marys Street as the seniors followed them.

“The class of 2020 has had a part of their high school experience taken away from them, and it was awesome to have the community come out and support them one final time,” Schlimm said. “I think everyone enjoyed a feel-good moment.”

Valedictorian Katie Krull gave her speech. Assistant Superintendent Jim Wortman, who is retiring after 40 years, also played his guitar and sang for students.

Schlimm, Superintendent Brian Toth and class president Baird Bankovic also spoke, and an airplane flew over the stadium during the National Anthem.

Photos courtesy of Olivia Pistner of Creative Mind Photography. 

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