• Staff

School of the Ozarks administrators make surprise visits to graduating seniors

Special to Branson Globe

POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — The 2020 commencement for School of the Ozarks seniors was originally scheduled for May 7; however, in accordance with CDC guidelines, the ceremony has been postponed. School administrators thought the spirit of graduation should go on and brought the celebration to the homes of the graduating seniors throughout the afternoon and evening yesterday with stops at each home. The class of 2020 was honored with music by a bagpiper, administrators in regalia, signs, and special gifts.

Senior Kara Bergeron, with mom Holly Bergeron by her side, is honored and overwhelmed with emotion by the procession Thursday. (Special to Branson Globe)

With appropriate social distancing guidelines in place, the procession began at 11 a.m. Thursday. The 23 graduates were surprised by the parade, which also included their instructors following along in individual vehicles.

Administrators Brad Dolloff, dean of School of the Ozarks, and Scott McElvain, assistant to the dean, wore their full regalia, and of course, masks and gloves.

“Yesterday was the originally scheduled date of School of the Ozarks graduation,” Dolloff said. “Although we are hopeful for an official ceremony later this summer, we still wanted to let these seniors know that we love them and are blessed to have shared a significant portion of their lives with them.”

Senior Kara Bergeron celebrates with school administrators – (L) Scott McElvain, assistant to the dean, and (R) Brad Dolloff, dean of School of the Ozarks. (Special to Branson Globe)

Others on hand to create the full effect were Debbie Presson, S of O counselor; Layne Wilks, S of O administrative assistant; and bagpiper Amanda Kershaw, who also plays at Top of the Rock. Upon arrival at each home, Kershaw played “Pomp and Circumstance,” while Dolloff and McElvain presented the students with a yard sign, a framed class photo, and other special gifts.

“We wanted to honor them on a day they had been anticipating for quite some time,” Dolloff said. “Although we didn’t get to spend a great deal of time with each graduate, I am confident that goal was accomplished. Throughout the history of the Church, Christians have been called on to make sacrifices for others. This was a very small sacrifice in order to protect the health and welfare of the community at large. I am so thankful we got to honor these seniors in this way, but I’m pretty sure we were blessed as much or more than they were!”

Senior Luke Williams enjoys the surprise visit by bagpipers, school administrators, and a line of vehicles with signs and well wishes. (Special to Branson Globe)

School of the Ozarks plans to host a traditional graduation ceremony later in the summer, which will include the graduates and their immediate families. More information will be given as those plans are finalized.

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