Graduation

'Dear Class of 2020...' | Teachers' Lounge Podcast

Jun 26, 2020
Spencer Tritt

This is a special episode of the show we’re calling “Dear Class of 2020…”  The teachers are gone. This week it’s all about the students graduating after the strangest senior year ever. You’re going to hear four valedictorians give the speeches they would have given, in a normal year, to an auditorium full of their friends and family.

The Class of 2020 valedictorians are:

Xavior Hutsell of Roosevelt High School in Rockford

Nina Mitchell of DeKalb High School

Ashley Althaus of Amboy High School

And, finally, Tessa Harbecke or Sycamore High School

The Many Ways To Graduate During A Pandemic

May 29, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has canceled milestones for countless people. Weddings have been pushed back, memorials modified for social distancing and some funerals made digital.

High school graduation is a milestone that may feel a little different for students after e-learning for their final months. In early May, the Illinois State Board of Education made a statement saying schools were not to have typical in-person ceremonies. The board also gave guidelines on how schools can still celebrate.

Editor’s Note: WNIJ and our podcast Teachers’ Lounge are giving a platform for you to hear some of those valedictorian speeches. If you want your school to be a part of our special edition show, send us an email at teacherslounge@niu.edu. And thanks!

Spencer Tritt

Coronavirus has highlighted the digital divide among low-income as well as rural students. Schools that don’t send students home with laptops rushed them equipment so they could do their homework online.

School administrators say some parents claim to have internet access, but it may only be through a phone plan. Districts have distributed hot spots for families without a plan or where service is undependable.

Dusty Rhodes/NPR Illinois

Commencement ceremonies took place on many college campuses this past weekend, including the University of Illinois, where a popular TV star spoke to graduates.

But the Black Congratulatory ceremony at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana was particularly unique. 

Scott Desavouret / WNIJ

Another round of college graduates is heading into the world. We asked winter graduates at Kishwaukee College how they feel about their futures.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Hundreds of students gathered for Northern Illinois University's undergraduate commencement ceremony Sunday at the Convocation Center. Friends, family, and relatives filled the stands for the graduation activities.

NIU President Doug Baker acknowledged what he calls "notable achievements" of several students, including Student Marshall Jessica Christofersen; she served in the United States Army, reported for The Northern Star, studied in England, and is working for commercial-pilot certification.

NIU Spring Graduates Recognized For Achievements

May 14, 2016
Katie Finlon / WNIJ

More than 2,500 students were honored during the Saturday undergraduate commencement ceremonies at Northern Illinois University.

Friends, family, and relatives filled the stands of the Convocation Center for graduate activities. 

NIU President Doug Baker acknowledged three students for what he calls notable achievements. ROTC graduate Maria Colompos was one of those students recognized for their accomplishments while attending NIU.