According to a press release sent by Principal Corey Robb, Benton Central has been planning some creative ways to celebrate the Class of 2020.

“We know these special celebrations will not replace all of you being together, but our hope is that in some small way these events honor your achievements and bring you joy as you say farewell to your Benton Community School years,” said Robb.

The B.C. principal also said that with the current events and restrictions in place concerning the pandemic, unfortunately a “traditional” graduation

ceremony can’t be held inside Benton Central. “We still want our seniors to experience the final moments of their senior career, but in the safest way possible,” he said. 

In order to respect everyone's plans for life after high school, Benton Central has decided to keep the original June 7 date for a modified graduation ceremony. 

“There is still some uncertainty for the coming weeks/months so we felt that postponing to a later date was not only a gamble, but also disrespectful to everyone's future plans,” said Robb.

He said more details will be forthcoming about the graduation ceremony. “We also understand there may be graduates or family members who have concerns about participation because of the pandemic or due to health concerns.” 

Some other ways the school has been honoring the Class of 2020 are:

– Senior Spotlights have been created and shared on the school’s social media to highlight seniors who responded to a questionnaire. These have also appeared in the Benton Review and have been sent to the yearbook staff. 

– George Hardebeck, one of the Senior Class Sponsors, has graciously served as an ambassador to represent and honor the Senior Class by turning the football field lights on at 8:20 p.m. each

Friday evening for 20 minutes and 20 seconds.

– A gift bag with surprises was hand delivered to senior homes this week.

– A Virtual Senior Awards Night was held on May 11. It can be viewed on YouTube at https://youtu.be/CACFC_GYI2M

– On May 12 Message signs for each senior will be displayed in the student parking lot. During the week everyone is invited to bring a permanent marker and write a message to your favorite

senior on the back of their board. Seniors you can pick these boards up on Friday night May 15 or the school will collect them for you and get them to you later.

– During the week of Monday, May 18 two senior tribute videos will be released by Miss Bunte and Mr. Pelton.

– From 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, May 20  Graduation Caps and Gowns will be distributed Outside Door 1 (Main Entrance) at Benton Central via curbside pick up. Students will need to bring $30 cash and the Balfour reps will hand you the gown.

– Banners with senior pictures will be hung around the Arena Gym balcony.

– Opportunity for seniors will be given to have their photo taken on the commencement stage in the Arena Gym over the following two weeks. “We know that it will not be the same as having graduation in the gym, but we wanted to make sure we set up an opportunity for those pictures if students and families want them,” said Robb. A link will be sent out on Monday, May 18, to sign up for an individual time slot for families to take their own photos of their senior.

During the week of May 25 seniors will receive a “Survival Kit for Life” in the mail.

Senior banners that were hung up in the Arena Gym will be sent home at the end of May. 

A modified graduation will take place in the parking lot at Benton Central on June 7. “We are working with local officials to finalize plans and will share that information as soon as we can,” said Hoover.

A determination is still being made concerning whether to try and hold Prom on July 11.

“We understand that this is a difficult, unprecedented, and unparalleled time in all of our lives,” said Robb. “By continuing to work together, we will be able to provide an experience that – while it may look very different from what we are all accustomed to – will still be special and memorable.”