Thank you for making it happen

Published 9:15 am Thursday, June 11, 2020

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We want to publicly thank Mr. Aaron Greene, Dr. Brandon Schweitzer, the Polk County School Board, and the faculty and staff of Polk County High School for all they have done for the graduating class of 2020.

As the parents of a graduating senior, we have watched all that has happened since our children were sent home for distance learning. We know how hard they have worked to keep students engaged, children fed and parents informed. As a family that houses its own teacher, we know the demands that have been made on teachers, administrators and county office personnel. We know how hard it has been to ease everyone’s mind while trying to meet the needs of the students. This has been compounded when considering the students of the senior class. More than any other group, they have lost out: prom, awards, traditions and celebrations. It has been heart-wrenching to watch, both as an educator and as parents.

Seeing the end of this school year from both of these perspectives has provided us with a deep sense of appreciation for living in Polk County.

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Mr. Greene has maintained an open and positive attitude in all his communications with us. His daily quotes have been inspirational and his thoughts for the Class of 2020 have been heartfelt and insightful.

Dr. Schweitzer has been diligent in putting his students first and in fighting for a way to recognize them in a positive way that still meets the legal restrictions of the day.

On Saturday, June 6, we were grateful to be a part of the graduation ceremony at Polk County High School for the Class of 2020.

In the uncertainty of the times, Polk County leadership found a way to celebrate each individual student for his or her accomplishments and achievements. Nothing in these times is ideal; there is so much that we would all love to do differently. However, watching Mr. Greene, Dr. Schweitzer and the faculty of Polk County High School, spend hours Saturday morning welcoming and honoring each student—allowing us to cheer, cry and celebrate—was unbelievable.

In the darkness of the days past, it was something we had given up hoping for…along with the prom, awards, traditions and celebrations. And, although the day was about the students—about our son—it would not have been possible if these dedicated educators had not been willing to give up four hours of their Saturday to stand in the beating sun and call name after name, applaud over and over, and wish each group a genuine and loving farewell.

We can never express how much having a graduation for our son, for all the sons and daughters of the Class of 2020, mattered. The kindness, patience and determination to send off the Class of 2020 with grace and dignity will be something these young men and women, and their families, will remember for the rest of their lives. Now they can move on from high school to college, or the work force, or the military, knowing that this chapter of their lives has been honorably concluded…like every graduating class before them.

Thank you, Mr. Greene, Dr. Schweitzer, the Polk County School Board and all those at Polk County High School for making this happen. Thank you for caring.


Charlie and Amy Ballentine