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Local school leaders show their commitment to helping students graduate from high school

Graduating high school is a big deal, and thankfully in most places throughout the country, it is treated with the fanfare deserving of such an accomplishment. Looking at the feat through the eyes of the graduates, they have finished an often stressful, sometimes mentally grueling 12-year marathon of an academic task. These kids who will march across stages across the country have literally spent two thirds of their lives to reach this moment.

Crook County is no exception when it comes to celebrating the achievement. The event packs the local football stadium bleachers. The students not only get to take the stage in front of friends and loved ones and have their name called, they get to parade from the high school to the Ward Rhoden stadium in their caps and gowns, drawing attention from onlookers who might not have secured a ticket to the event.

Had the special attention ended there, it would still warrant praise for the Crook County School District and the importance they put on completing high school. But it doesn't end there.

This year, the Crook County School Board and CCHS leaders have decided to add a little more fanfare to the event and draw out the accolades the seniors enjoy. Not only will the school board members participate in serving seniors during a special breakfast, they will all appear on the stage to personally congratulate each of the 191 graduates.

And perhaps the most intriguing idea change to date, the graduates will don their caps and gowns and spend Thursday – the eve of graduation – parading down the halls of both Prineville elementary schools and Crook County Middle School. CCHS Principal Michelle Jonas said the spectacle will allow the younger students to see the accomplishments of the seniors and help them celebrate. It will also make the young, toiling students all the more eager to reach that big day themselves.

All of this is true, but we would add that leaves a vivid picture in the minds of the students that may emerge in times when they are facing a larger than normal amount of homework or trying to tackle a subject that is harder to grasp than normal. During those challenging moments, perhaps they recall the sight of nearly 200 students marching the halls and realize that they also faced some challenges but found a way to persevere. And if this act becomes an annual tradition, that picture of success is reinforced as each year passes.

Mixed with these moments of celebration are the efforts of the high school staff to shepherd students through the rigors of high school and make sure they keep on track and graduate on time. From ASPIRE to staffing a college readiness coordinator to implementing a new Decision Day that spotlights what students will do after high school, the high school staff has continually stressed the importance of graduating high school.

So while high school graduation will receive its due fanfare across the country in the coming days, local school leaders should soak up some recognition as well for making this high school's big day and even bigger one than usual.

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