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Laude banquet to be conducted online through virtual ceremony

High school graduation is a big milestone for many students.  With the COVID-19 pandemic, many high schools across the country have canceled and postponed their graduation.  CPHS is no exception.  Along with graduation, other significant events have been canceled as well, such as the annual laude banquet, where the students at the top of their class are recognized for their academic achievements.  

Since this banquet could not happen in person, it was held online instead.  Teacher Chris Gloff set up the virtual ceremony by creating a video to be shared with the laude students and their parents. 

“The ceremony itself will be the exact same in terms of flow and structure,” Gloff said. “We literally took the program as it was planned and we are following it step by step. Students won’t walk the stage for their recognition but they will all be recognized during the virtual ceremony.”

Gloff noted that making sure this ceremony was special for the seniors was important to him, and he considered this while planning the ceremony.

“We could have done something like a PowerPoint or Google slides presentation and just recognized the students,” Gloff said. “However, the administrators, along with Mr. Barber and I, wanted to find a way to recognize our students and have it be meaningful and/or special. I wish I could say I always think like this, but when things like this happen I try to think, ‘What would this be like if it were happening to me? What would it feel like if one of my sons lost this opportunity?’ I would hope someone would realize the importance of this occasion to our family and strive to find a way to preserve that celebration.”

Four students, including senior Bree Mild, were selected to give speeches at the banquet.  Mild says that although she is sad the ceremony could not be in person, she believes this is an experience she will look back on positively.

“I will be able to keep this ceremony with me at all times,” Mild said. “I can look back and remember the achievements I was being recognized for through the video. I know the teachers will love to be able to hear their letters read out loud anytime they please too. It would be something great to come back to on hard days in the future to get our spirits and motivation up.

Senior Logan Clark, who is also giving a speech at the ceremony, says he is proud of his class for all that they have accomplished over the years.

“Congratulations to all of my friends and classmates that achieved to cum laude status, we finally made it and this is something to be proud of,” Clark said. “Thank you to all of my teachers and administration that have got me this far. I’m not really sure what to expect with this ceremony being online but I look forward to what it will bring and what aspects would be present that wouldn’t normally be there in the live ceremony.”

Gloff hopes that students will enjoy the online ceremony, even if it is not like a traditional laude banquet.  

“I think it gives us an opportunity to do something different, something special, something that’s never been done before,” Gloff said. “At the end of the day, I think students love the opportunity to walk across the stage in front of their friends, families and relatives and we just won’t have that. However, this will also be a chance for relatives and friends who live far away, who wouldn’t normally attend the celebration to see and experience it from a distance. And maybe we can add some things we haven’t had in the past.”

Readers can now watch the laude banquet and listen to Clark, Mild, and others’ speeches on the Crown Point High School twitter, @school_crown.

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