Mill Valley, De Soto graduating seniors celebrate in-person Class of 2020 commencement

The Mill Valley Class of 2020 celebrated commencement Saturday. Photo courtesy USD 232.

The USD 232 school district — which has schools in De Soto, Shawnee, Lenexa and Olathe — livestreamed its two in-person graduation ceremonies last weekend for the Class of 2020 at De Soto and Mill Valley high schools.

Commencement for both schools took place in person Saturday at De Soto High. The district streamed the ceremonies on YouTube. Graduating seniors wore masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Graduation ceremonies for both high schools were rescheduled from May 16 due to state orders to close school facilities through May 29.

Mill Valley High

“It doesn’t matter where you have graduation, and it doesn’t matter where you are; Mill Valley goes with you,” said Principal Tobie Waldeck in his remarks. Photo courtesy USD 232.

Within a few minutes of his remarks, Principal Tobie Waldeck showed emotion to the Class of 2020 at Mill Valley.

“First, I want to make sure that I tell you I’m sorry for what you had to go through to get here,” he said. “After watching you, I realized that you understand the greater issues at hand… If my dad were to ask me if you let this class leave Mill Valley High School better than they found it, I would say you did.”

Waldeck also shared some words of encouragement.

“It doesn’t matter where you have graduation, and it doesn’t matter where you are; Mill Valley goes with you,” he said. “With all sincerity, I love every one of you. I wish you nothing but success, and now you get to stop listening to me blubber, and we’re going to celebrate you.”

Below is a video of commencement for the Mill Valley Class of 2020.

De Soto High

The De Soto Class of 2020 celebrated commencement Saturday afternoon. Photo courtesy USD 232.

Last weekend marked the 100th commencement ceremony for De Soto High.

In remarks to her fellow graduates at De Soto, senior Mya Conley shared her pride and gratitude for them, especially in their camaraderie and willingness to stand up for what’s right.

“No matter where our paths in life lead us, each and every one of us can make our communities greater,” said Mya Conley, graduating senior, in remarks to her fellow classmates. Photo courtesy USD 232.

“While most of us have never experienced or even witnessed police brutality in our community, I am proud to say that I am a part of a group of students willing to speak up for what we believe in, whether or not it directly affects us,” Conley said. “Seeing this has made me very confident that our class — and our generation, for that matter — has the capacity to change the world for the better.

“No matter where our paths in life lead us, each and every one of us can make our communities greater. We are now adults, and it has become our responsibility to do that.”

Below is a video of commencement for the De Soto Class of 2020.