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Grad ceremonies delayed by virus happening this month

HILLMAN — Hillman High School graduates will have to wait a couple more days to receive the sendoff they deserve.

The school’s commencement ceremony originally planned for Friday night was canceled because of storms and rescheduled to 8:30 p.m. Sunday, according to a post on the school district’s Facebook page.

Friday’s delay was the second after coronavirus-related restrictions earlier this year thwarted graduation plans for high school seniors hoping to walk in a commencement ceremony.

Now that the state is reopening, several schools in Northeast Michigan have rescheduled commencement ceremonies coming up.

Whitmer split the state into eight regions as part of her reopening plan, with restrictions in each region lifting or tightening based on coronavirus cases.

Schools in Michigan’s Region 6, which includes Alpena, Montmorency, and Presque Isle counties, are allowed to hold graduation ceremonies of up to 500 people outdoors in stadiums, where social distancing is required and people are now required to wear masks in outdoor spaces if they’re not six feet apart.

On Sunday, seniors from Rogers City Area Schools will walk in their commencement ceremony, planned for 2:30 p.m. in Gilpin Field.

The graduation for 15 Posen Consolidated Schools students will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday on the high school’s football field.

Because the graduating class is on the smaller side this year, Posen Superintendent and K-12 Principal Michelle Wesner said students will also be recognized with academic and sports awards, in addition to receiving their diplomas.

Fifty Alcona Community Schools seniors are also scheduled to walk in two graduation ceremonies on Friday. The ceremonies are scheduled for 5 and 7 p.m. at the football field, weather depending.

Superintendent Dan O’Connor said they have to hold two ceremonies because Alcona County falls within the state’s Region 4, where gatherings of up to 100 are allowed outdoors. He said a student can be accompanied by three guests.

On June 13, 278 Alpena High School students were able to receive diplomas in three separate commencement ceremonies, after Whitmer began opening up the state and allowed gatherings of up to 500 people in sporting arenas.

Atlanta and Onaway high schools also held graduation ceremonies in June.

Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or cnelson@thealpenanews.com.

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