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For the Review Times

Each year, high school graduations come and go relatively unnoticed, except, of course, by the graduates, their families and the schools.

It’s a perennial rite of passage that’s routine. Normal. Expected, but it’s no given this year.

The COVID-19 pandemic already derailed senior year for the Class of 2020. However, while this class’ graduation ceremonies may not be traditional, they are certainly going to be memorable. Communities are finding new ways to celebrate their graduating seniors, while avoiding mass gatherings. There are class caravans, reverse parades, online and drive-thru graduation ceremonies.

Today, pomp and circumstance will even echo in the halls at the Good Shepherd Home in Fostoria. The nursing home is preparing its own graduation ceremony for the 21 area seniors who have worked at the nursing home through all the throes and unknowns of the pandemic, and have stuck with it.

Ceremonies will follow all COVID-19 safety protocols.

These high school seniors and senior citizens have had a comparable experience in this time of isolation, uncertainty and break in the traditional. It’s time to celebrate, said staff members.

At 2 p.m. today, the high school graduates who work at Good Shepherd will gather in cap and gown and form a procession through the hallways of the nursing home, cheered on by their fellow staff members and residents. The procession will be followed by an invocation given by the Rev. Jerry Copeland, spiritual wellness director at the Good Shepherd Home. Each graduate will then be presented with ceremonial certificates and awards.

The event will conclude with the traditional turning of the tassel and cap toss.

And chances are very good there won’t be a dry eye in the house.

“We are grateful to these young health care heroes and want to recognize their achievements,” said Chris Widman, executive director of the home. “If these young people are a reflection of our future, we will be in good hands.”

Graduating seniors being honored at the event will include (name, school, department): Alexis Anderson, Fostoria High School, nursing; Kaitlyn Casiano, Fostoria High School, dining services; Ruby Castillo, Fostoria High School, dining services; Francisco Estrada, Fostoria High School, nursing; Harmony Lee, Fostoria High School, nursing; Jersie Maggio, Fostoria High School, dining services; Aliesha McDill, Lakota High School, nursing; Nykeshia McDuffey, Fostoria High School, dining services; Kilie Mora, North Central Academy, nursing; Miquela Mundy, Fostoria High School, dining services; Esperanza Navarro, Fostoria High School, nursing; Brayden Piper, Hopewell-Loudon High School, dining services; Emily Scherf, Van Buren High School, dining services; Kenzie Sheeks, North Baltimore High School, nursing; Dominic Springer, Arcadia High School, dining services; Hanna Strayer, Treca Digital Academy, nursing; Iyanna Taylor, Fostoria High School, nursing; Abagale Thomas, Van Buren High School, dining services; Autumn Weidner, Fostoria High School, dining services; Mya Weimerskirch, Fostoria High School, dining services; and Hana Windham, Fostoria High School, dining services.

The Good Shepherd Home, 725 Columbus Ave., Fostoria, was founded in 1904, and is a Christian not-for-profit life care community serving all faiths with a full range of independent living options and levels of care.

Grant: 419-427-8412

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Twitter: @ByDeniseGrant