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‘We dropped the ball on this…’

WC?school officials apologize for omitting names of students graduating in absentia

Twenty-four students who received their diplomas in absentia will receive a recognition that was missed at Sunday’s Webster City High School commencement ceremony.

The students missed the event due to a variety of reasons, according to Dr. Mandy Ross.

She read a statement about the oversight during Monday’s school board meeting.

“In the past, our practice has been to read the names of all graduates, even if some could not be there in person,” she said. “We dropped the ball on this (Sunday) and I want to apologize to those seniors for our mistake. I also know that their families are hurting with them.”

Ross said she understood that many of the seniors who watched the televised ceremony were disappointed to not hear their names announced.

High School Principal Dan Johnson also apologized to the seniors and families who were not recognized during the ceremony.

“While planning for the in-person graduation, I was unaware of the past practice that had been a tradition at Webster City High School,” he said, adding that the names of 24 graduates receiving diplomas in absentia were not read during the commencement ceremony.

“As a result, we failed to recognize 24 well-deserving seniors who met or exceeded the requirements to graduate from Webster City High School,” he said.

Johnson said the error was unintentional and added that he was “deeply sorry to those individuals we failed to recognize.”

Johnson then read the names of the 24 seniors who were not recognized during the ceremony Sunday. Those students are: Morgan Arkland, Milagros Rincon, Sophia Baez, Alison Andrade, Nicholas Corey, Asher Eger, Lydia Estlund, Eastyn Garvey, Nicholas Hackbarth, Jackson Heck, Emmanuel Hernandez, Justin Hignite, Alexander Hurt, Riley Jergens, Elijah Killian, Justin Mack, Angelica Manzo-Victoriano, Kolten McCollough, Malachi DeOca, Andrew Nielsen, Parker Rossing, Chaiah Spiwak, Marlene Tejeda and Jonathan Tunkhai-Vankham. Johnson said that Eastyn Garvey and Riley Jergens were both Cessna 3.75 scholars.

Johnson said that a YouTube video recognition of the 24 students has been added to the school’s YouTube channel, tied to the commencement video. He added that the commencement stage would be set up in the auditorium throughout the month of July as a backdrop for any of the students who wish to take photographs with their families.

He said the names were also posted on the district’s Facebook page, along with an apology.

“I hope these steps taken start to alleviate some of the disappointment that I may have caused by not honoring past tradition,” Johnson said.

Ross also read a letter from community member Tanya Doyle that was received via email Monday. Doyle said the students deserved to hear the reasons for the lack of recognition.

“Yesterday we had 24 students who should have been recognized for their accomplishment right alongside the students who were able to be present,” Doyle said in her letter. “We let them down.”

Ross said going forward, the administration will enhance communication and planning around graduation, so this type of mistake is not made again.

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