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Unprecedented year has unconventional end
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Unprecedented year has unconventional end

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There were no banging locker doors, no woos of triumph and no goodbye hugs as Council Bluffs Community School District ended its schoolyear Thursday or on Lewis Central Community School District’s last student day Friday.

Heartland Christian School’s last day was May 20, and St. Albert Catholic Schools’ was May 22.

“On a typical last student day, it would be filled with emotion,” said Joel Beyenhof, principal at Lewis Central High School.

There would be tears of joy as summer vacation dawned and tears of sadness as friends parted and faced months of separation, Beyenhof said.

“The endings of schoolyears are about all of those emotions and relationships,” he said. “I think (the closure’s) kind of leaving a void for all of us.”

“The last part of this schoolyear has been unlike anything we have ever experienced or dreamed would happen,” said Vickie Murillo, superintendent of Council Bluffs Schools. “Through it all, all of our teachers and staff have stepped up to the plate, demonstrated their love and commitment to our students and persevered through the challenges of virtual teaching.”

There are still celebrations and socially distanced goodbyes between students and teachers. Several Council Bluffs schools held parades or “reverse parades” — where families drove by school buildings to wave goodbye to teachers — during the last few days of the term. Lewis Central has a similar event planned for Tuesday afternoon.

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Said Murillo, “Through neighborhood parades, yard signs, Google meetings, online videos and many phone calls and emails, we have stayed connected to our students, families and to each other.”

The various events and communications were also ways of students and teachers congratulating each other for making it through a year of many surprises, disappointments and adjustments.

“More than ever before, we changed the way we work to serve our students,” Murillo said. “We are so proud of our students and parents who have also adapted to a new way of learning. We all remain hopeful for the return to school in the fall, but we will be prepared to do so in a manner consistent with health and safety guidelines.”

Lewis Central’s End-of-Year Parade will run from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and will travel from Lewis Central High School past the middle school and ending at Titan Hill Intermediate School. Families are asked to start at different times based on the initials of their last names. Those with last names beginning with A-E are to start at 4 p.m., followed by those with last names starting with F-K at 4:30, L-R at 5, and S-Z at 5:30. The school district’s Facebook page has a link to a map showing the route.

Heartland Christian plans to hold an outdoor graduation ceremony at 2 p.m. June 6 on a practice field next to the school. Prom has been rescheduled for July 18, depending on social distancing requirements in place at that time.

Council Bluffs plans to hold outdoor graduation ceremonies on June 20 at the Gale Wickersham Athletic Complex. The event will be livestreamed on YouTube so those who can’t attend or don’t feel safe going in person can watch.

St. Albert plans to hold a commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. on July 23 at the school — either on one of its athletic fields or in the gym, depending on social distancing requirements.

Lewis Central plans to hold its prom dance, senior awards night and graduation ceremony on July 31, Aug. 1 and Aug. 2, respectively.

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