Riley Klaus (left) and Kyler Hell, both seventh graders, wave goodbye to Raymond School teacher Corinne Von Bergen during a June 5 during a drive-by farewell celebration at the school. (Photo by Jason Arndt)

Teachers bid farewell to students from a distance

 

By Jason Arndt

Staff Writer

When Mackenzie Geschke attended Raymond School, she remembers seeing high school graduates roam the halls, waving goodbye during the school’s annual year-end celebration.

Geschke, who left Raymond School in 2016, experienced a reversal June 5 as a Union Grove High School graduate.

“When I graduated from eighth grade, I knew I would come back for this,” said Geschke, who joined six former classmates in the celebration.

But, unlike four years ago, the June 5 annual wave goodbye brought some changes because of COVID-19.

Instead of the seniors visiting students inside the hallways, Raymond School officials decided to bring the celebration outdoors, creating a parade-like ceremony for students who are heading into summer vacation.

While teachers maintained social distancing, they showcased signs stating, “Miss you” and “Counting down the days until we are back.” The students rode past in the school parking lot in vehicles driven by their parents.

Diane Voge, who has been at Raymond School for 31 years, said the June 5 celebration was a wonderful way to close out the school year and allowed teachers to see their students again.

Raymond School, like others statewide, have been closed since mid-March to stem the spread of COVID-19 and schools were limited to virtual instruction.

“I think it is a wonderful for the tradition here at Raymond, it has gone on for as long as I can remember,” she said. “This is a great closure to the year.”

Voge said the signs showing thanks to her and other colleagues were an inspiration.

The annual wave goodbye, she said, also allowed her to reconnect with former students such as Geschke.

“Once you are a Raymond student, you are always a Raymond student and become part of a family,” she said.

Mitzi Kozad, Communications Director of Raymond School, credited Geschke for gathering some of her classmates for the annual event.

“It feels awesome. Every year, we have senior walk,” Kozad said about Geschke and her classmates.

“They might go to different high schools, but they still talk to one another, and I love it.”

Jeschke was joined by Brandon Krivsky, Geneva Hebron, Madison Cerny, Kyleigh Ray, Becca Swantz and Autumn Kopac. All of them are graduates of Union Grove High School except for Kopac, who graduated from Greendale Martin Luther.