Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Daria Anderson-Faden
The Observer 

Grads Cruise To Next Chapter

Kimball Kruise Night A Graduation Ceremony They'll Never Forget

 

Daria Anderson-Faden / The Observer

Coronavirus outbreak or not, the Kimball community rallied to give the Kimball High Class of 2020 a unique graduation celebration its members will never forget. Kimball Kruise Night, a weekly event during the pandemic, was devoted last Friday to the graduating seniors who will not have a traditional commencement due to health safety restrictions. These participating vehicles are parked at the Sagebrush, the former Kimball Event Center. The Observer's special two-part 2020 high school graduation coverage continues next week with photos of all graduating seniors from Kimball, Potter-Dix and Banner County.

The Kiwanis of Kimball and Banner counties took the "bull by the horns" in celebrating the 2020 Kimball Jr/Sr High School seniors.

Jay Fennell, president of the Kiwanis, said that "it was amazing to see the community pull together." According to Fennell, they received enough donations from the community to have gifts for all the seniors and a special prizes for the best decorated vehicles.

Fennell stated that this is "not a replacement for graduation but something and someway to be able to celebrate the seniors."

Fennell credited Stephanie Pederson with taking the lead on this project and Ashley Sisk provided lots of help.

Hundreds of people showed up Friday evening to help the Kimball Jr/Sr High School seniors celebrate their graduation amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The seniors started off the evening with a dinner box from Nebraska Coffee and a Blizzard treat courtesy of Dairy Queen and Shavonne Singleton Farm Bureau Financial Services.

While a number of business contributed, many individuals also ponied up gift cards and money.

Senior Hannah Brown said she was really surprised by the outpouring.

"I loved being able to see everyone on the side of the road cheering us on," she said. "It kind of made me realize that we're moving on to the next chapter of our lives. I was glad to know that our community was so happy for us and wanting to support us that way."

Stephanie Pederson said that the Kiwanis never asked for donations, but people reached out to them with over 40 gift cards, cash, specialty gifts, a TV and lots of food. Twenty-three seniors participated in the parade and each one received gifts essential for college or life on their own.

Senior Nicole Delaplane said, "I personally had a blast at the senior cruise night! It was very thoughtful of the Kiwanis and the Kimball community to put all that together for us ... I am truly thankful for having such great and considerate people in my life."

She said her favorite part of the evening was "driving down the street and seeing all my teachers, friends and family. It was nice to see everyone after being stuck at home for the last couple of months!"

Led by the Kimball Volunteer Fire Department, valedictorian Carli Wurdeman started off the parade down Highway 30 to the stoplight followed by her classmates.

Additional prizes were given for the best decorated vehicles, with Nicole Delaplane receiving first place, Ethan Greenwood second and Emily Bussanich third.

In a surprising move, Johnson Construction started with $100 and then took donations on the street Friday evening, splitting the pot of money between a graduating guy and a gal. Johnson Construction gathered $730 and split it between drawing winners Lane Wasielewski and Emily Bussanich.

Senior Joe Burris put the whole thing in perspective.

"I'm grateful that Kimball put that much effort into allowing the class of 2020 to have a graduation experience," he said.

 

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