Graduations for seniors at Cuba and Bourbon high schools were originally scheduled for this month but have been postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. When schools closed in March, the reality set in for seniors that their senior year was over, except for doing classwork at home.
“It is very sad that we all have had to miss out on senior activities and making memories with friends,” said Cuba senior Emma Layman, daughter of Jodi and Darin Layman, “because most seniors are leaving in the middle of summer, if not before.”
Cuba High School has tentatively scheduled its graduation for Saturday, July 25, which is the latest of an area school. Officials decided on that date rather than planning for an earlier graduation in June that might have to get rescheduled. The CHS prom has been set for July 24.
“I am very grateful that the school has worked things out so that we will be able to have both (prom and graduation),” Layman said, who said that studying at home has been going well for her, but that “it’s hard to keep focused with lots of easy distractions around me.”
Layman plans to attend Rolla Technical Center and pursue a career in nursing.
“I miss making memories with my friends, since I can’t see them while we are all stuck at home,” she said.
Bourbon High School senior Ashlyn Lewis, the daughter of Trish Lewis, said, “This is definitely not how I pictured the last couple months of my senior year. I thought I would be running track and playing softball, attending State FFA and FBLA, and prom.”
A tentative date for graduation in Bourbon has been scheduled for June 27, with alternate dates set for both July and August. For now, it appears there will be no BHS prom.
“Although I don’t want to miss out on my senior prom,” Lewis said, “my bigger focus is having a normal graduation ceremony.
Lewis said she is used to doing schoolwork online because of the dual (college) credit courses she is taking. For her other classes, however, she says she would much rather be in the classroom working.
“I miss my teachers, my coaches, the sports, my friends, and all the end of the year senior activities,” she said.
Lewis will be attending Missouri Valley College in Marshall and playing volleyball. She plans to major in elementary education with a minor in business administration.
“I just want to say thank you to my teachers who reached out to me when we heard we weren’t going back to school for sure,” she said. “The support meant a lot.”
CHS senior Andrew Reeves, the son of Gary Reeves and Lorraine Reeves, also said he was appreciative of everything his teachers did for him.
“Thank you, all of the teachers that helped me,” Reeves said. “I’m going to miss you. And, thanks to my mom and dad helping me get through the school years.”
Reeves said his senior year was going well until the “C-19” hit, and that doing schoolwork at home has been “okay.” He said he will be happy to graduate and after he does will be working to find a job.
Noah Turnbough, another CHS senior, said the end of his senior year was “crazy” and that doing schoolwork from home has been a struggle. Turnbough, who is the son of Mike Turnbough, said if graduation “happens it happens” and that he plans to attend East Central College this fall and then transfer to a four-year college or university.
Kris and Beth Kight, of Cuba, have a son who is a CHS senior. Connor Kight said studying at home has been great, especially since he has four dual-credit classes to complete. He said, while the school year ended early, it brought him one step closer to his future goals.
“I have enlisted in the United States Marine Corps,” said Kight. “I would like to become a pilot and be able to defend this great nation.”
Kight added that he missed hanging out with friends and getting to do all the end-of-the-year senior activities.
BHS senior Colbe Radford, the daughter of Shannon and Debra Radford, said, “This year definitely ended in a way none of us thought it would, but honestly it has given me more time to enjoy my family, get outside, and even prepare for college.”
Radford plans to attend Missouri Baptist University, where she will play volleyball, to pursue a degree in elementary special education. After obtaining her degree, she would like to come back to her hometown and possibly be a coach.
“I think the thing I miss most about being at school would probably be some of the people and the athletics,” Radford said. “I went from being at school for eight to 10 hours a day to being home all day. Practices, along with classes, helped me create a set scheduled for my weeks.”
Radford said she has mainly been taking online dual college courses, so other than one class, her studies have been pretty much the same. “I will say that surprisingly there are more distractions at school than I have at home,” she said. “I actually finished one of my classes already and the rest will be done in the next week or so.”
Radford said she hopes Bourbon High School officials will find someone to reschedule prom and pull off a traditional graduation.
“I have a large family, and many people who have supported me throughout the years and would hate to tell any of them that they aren’t allowed to be at my graduation,” she said. “At this point, all we can do is wait and see how things play out. As a senior, prom isn’t quite as important as graduation to me, but a bunch of us had already gotten our dresses, so hopefully we get to wear them.”
Radford said she is very thankful for all the support the community has given to the senior class during this time of uncertainty. “I am beyond grateful to have such a loving, caring, strong-willed community backing me up throughout my endeavors,” she said.
CHS senior Jake Corbett, son of Shane and Dorrie Corbett, said the abrupt end of the 2019-20 school year was a “bummer” because it took away the opportunity for seniors to say their last goodbyes to their friends. “I miss being (at school) and hanging out with friends that I will not see after graduation.”
Corbett said studying at home is a lot different than being able to hear and see things being taught in person, but he is looking forward to graduation.
“I think it’s cool that the school cares enough that they worked it out for us to be able to have prom and graduation,” he said.
After high school, Corbett plans to attend State Technical College in Linn, Mo., where he will be working toward earning a degree in computer application development.
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