Kace Wills was the first in his family to graduate high school when he moved his tassel from left to right during Friday’s ceremony at Rose Alternative School in Roseburg, but he’s hoping to inspire more children by becoming a teacher.
Wills said being a teacher has been a longtime goal of his.
“I’m just glad I made it here to this point in my life,” Wills said. “I was a dropout for a while, but then I came back and hit it hard.”
Wills, who is already enrolled at Umpqua Community College, was one of three graduates in the noon ceremony. He was joined by Joslin Peckham and Bryland Vroman, all graduates of Rose School.
Peckham planned to go to college and become a fish and game warden, while Vroman was hoping to start working full-time after graduation.
Administrators organized four graduation ceremonies, each with three to five students to minimize the amount of people at the school. This included graduations for Rose School graduates, Connections Learning graduates and an ACES GED candidate.
Each ceremony was a little different from the one before, including a change in speaker and master of ceremonies.
Roseburg Public Schools Superintendent Jared Cordon was the speaker at the noon event, where he told the graduates, “I want you to know that we’re proud of you, and we’re excited about our future as a community and a nation and a world because of you.”
Cordon also reminded the graduates that they are products of their decisions, to believe in themselves and to be of service.
Rose Alternative School Principal Randal Olsen did not speak at the noon ceremony, but did at other sessions.
“I’m excited to get to celebrate it in person,” Olsen said. “This is a group of kiddos that we’ve had for three years since we started the school, this is sort of a conclusion of a story that started right.”
The atrium in the school was decorated in gold and black, with a wall decorated as a backdrop for photos and another where family and friends could leave messages to the graduates.
After just two ceremonies the Graduate Reflections wall was decorated with messages such as “The tassel was worth the hassle,” “congratulations” and “I’m so proud of you.”
Throughout the ceremony all those in attendance wore masks, which were only removed during a photo session following the ceremony. The ceremony was also streamed via Zoom to people who were unable to attend in person.
All of the graduates were asked to reflect on graduation and their thoughts were shared during a short presentation.
During the ceremony, Jessica Monday, learning coordinator for Online Learning Connections, asked the graduates to reflect quietly on the people who helped them achieve their goals and to thank them afterwards.
Students presented the staff with gifts as a token of their appreciation, while they themselves were also given present to commemorate the occasion.