GLIDE — “Rise Up” was the theme for the Glide High School class of 2020’s graduation ceremony, which was held in the parking lot at the athletic fields on Sunday.

The theme was reflected in music, speeches and the overall attitude of this year’s graduating class.

“Our graduation may not be the same as everyone else’s from the past, but that’s just what makes us all the more special and unique,” salutatorian Jazmine Pardo Rams said. “I’d like to thank all the parents, teachers and close friends, but most importantly I want to thank God for helping every single one of us to where we are right now. Supporting us and guiding us all the way through. Thank you for never giving up on any of us.”

As all other schools in Oregon, Glide had to make new accommodations for its commencement ceremony to abide by social distancing guidelines and other executive orders from Gov. Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority.

The ceremony was moved outside to the parking lot for the Glide Athletic Fields. Upon arrival, those attending the ceremony were greeted by people wearing Glide School District face masks with programs and a list of photos for all the graduates before being guided into designated parking spaces.

A stage was set up for students to walk across as they received their diploma. Graduates were greeted with congratulations, but not with handshakes or hugs like past years.

Speeches and musical performances were pre-recorded to move the ceremony along. Speeches from student body presidents Gabe Syverson and Calvin Metz, valedictorians Brooklin Quisenberry and Emily Michel, and salutatorians Caidyn Cunningham and Pardo Rams were broadcast using an FM radio frequency during the event.

“Whenever you get the chance to rise up, make sure you do your absolute best to overcome and accomplish, so you will have no regrets as your life moves forward,” Cunningham said. “Always be kind to others and reach out whenever you get the chance, because you never know whose life you can change with just a single courageous act.”

Metz and Aria Mathison each performed a song, which was broadcast during the ceremony. Metz performed an acoustic version of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters,” while Mathison performed a rendition of Andra Days “Rise Up.”

Principal Kristina Haug, Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Eric Savage and Counselor Chris Clair also recorded messages for the class of 2020. Savage gave each graduate their diplomas.

Haug said she was thankful for three things: that the bad weather came the day before, for the graduation crew that set up the event, and that each and every graduate had the ability and skill to make an impact in the world. Savage announced Michel and Metz were the Citizens of the Year, and Clair announced several of the school’s scholarship winners.

Throughout the ceremony, people mostly stayed in their vehicles, many decorated with balloons and some decorated with the school’s blue and yellow.

Pardo Rams sat in the back of her family’s decorated pick-up for much of the ceremony, which she called sweet and thoughtful.

“I’m just excited for all of us,” she said. “I’m glad to see all of us here together.”

The only time people were allowed to leave their vehicle was when their senior was called forward to pick up their high school diploma.

Even though the graduating seniors were unable to shake hands or physically interact with the administrators, they still picked up their diplomas and walked across the stage to a trellis where they were joined by their families for photos.

Glide High School graduated 46 seniors this year, seven of whom were unable to make it to the ceremony. Haug said four of the graduates will join the military, six were working full-time, 18 had part-time jobs, eight had apprenticeships, 14 will attend Umpqua Community College, 15 will attend a four-year college and one would serve a church mission.

A police car and three fire trucks led the seniors in a processional through Glide after the ceremony, where they were cheered on by family, friends and community members with banners, pom poms and airhorns. Seniors sat in the back of pick-up trucks, stood out through sun roofs and hung from car windows as they passed by the crowd.

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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Congratulations on your graduation and best wishes. From and old guy who still remembers, let the next adventure begin.

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