Keeping it ‘normal’ – all while making it special

Mandy Hogland wore several hats as a key planner for graduation ceremonies and as the proud mom of CHS graduate Abby.

“May you live in interesting times.”

You may have heard this quoted as the translation of an ancient Chinese curse/blessing; but while it is actually a 20th-century aphorism of English-language origin, it is certainly apropos for 2020 graduates – for these are “interesting” times.

Creswell’s Class of 2020 graduates had to forgo many traditions they’d spent years anticipating. But months of creative thinking by school staff, parents and community members ensured that they also had a big spoonful of “sugar” as a chaser.

“There were many people involved in planning for this year’s very unique graduation – with lots of brainstorming required,” said college and career specialist and librarian Angela Dennis, who helped coordinate the virtual Senior Awards and Scholarships assembly.

Beginning in April, a graduation planning committee comprised of principal Adam Watkins, assistant principal and athletic director Brandon Standridge, Dennis, academic advisor and business teacher Mona Stiffler, counselor and leadership advisor Lori Naugle, administrative assistants Barbara Sears and Tristy DuFault, and educational assistants Risa Bryant and Mandy Hoggard held weekly planning meetings via Zoom, organizing and coordinating the unique graduation events for this 112th class of Creswell High School.

“We were tasked with planning some sort of graduation with social distancing guidelines, (which) was extremely stressful because we wanted something more than a picture thrown up in a slideshow,” Stiffler said.

And indeed, they achieved much more than that.

Since there was no overnight grad trip, the senior parent group “decided to simply distribute the money raised to pay for the overnight grad party, along with the free goodies that would have been given out to the graduates during the party evenly among the seniors,” Dennis said.

Throughout it all, “Our main goal was still honoring our seniors as close to the way we normally do, while still following social distancing guidelines,” Dennis said. “We were thankful when we hit Phase One and could at least have 25 people together for gatherings!”

Mandy Hoggard, an educational assistant at CHS and president of the Creswell Music Boosters, wore many hats regarding the 2020 graduation – including that of mom, as her daughter Abby was among the grads.

In addition to serving on the school committee, Hoggard also headed up the senior parent group.

Although many people’s contributions were necessary and invaluable, Hoggard emerged, through multiple conversations, as the consensus “superstar” of the effort.

“Mandy was responsible for most of the heavy lifting for the ceremony,” Standridge said. “She handled logistics, the videography and editing for the ceremony, as well as being the liaison from the senior parent group.”



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