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story.lead_photo.caption California High School Photo by David Wilson / California Democrat.

Though California High School seniors were unable to finish out their school year, they're going to get to end it with an in-person graduation later this month.

Last week, the Moniteau County R-1 School District Board of Education finalized plans to host a graduation ceremony in person May 30 at Riley Field. A handful of CHS seniors shared their thoughts on the decision.

Leo Potter

Leo Potter: "I'm glad that we are having an in-person baccalaureate and graduation. It's more meaningful to have it in person. Standing beside your classmates that you have spent four years of your life with is a big deal. I'll probably hardly get to see them again after graduation, so I'm grateful that the school planned it this way."

Alyssa Sabartinelli

Alyssa Sabartinelli: "I had mixed feelings about graduation decisions. When I heard I could only bring four people to graduation at first, I was pretty upset. I decided to give my tickets to my mom, sister, dad and step-mom, though this meant my best friend, boyfriend, grandparents, my 99-year-old grandma and the rest of my family would not get to see me graduate in-person and take pictures. After calming down, I realized that this was the best of both worlds to keep everyone safe and give my class the graduation we deserve. I plan on having two family graduation parties the day of graduation to be able to still celebrate and take pictures with all my family and friends. I am also so grateful that our graduation will be recorded so that everyone not able to attend is still able to watch the ceremony. I am most looking forward to getting to see all my classmates together one last time to celebrate. I am really looking forward to starting the next chapter in my life, and seeing where life takes the rest of my friends and other classmates."

Kendall Kirksey

Kendall Kirksey: "I am glad that the school district decided to have an in-person graduation and baccalaureate. I understand that some people are upset about only being allowed to have four guests at graduation, but they also have to understand that having any type of in-person graduation is a huge blessing. Seniors at other schools are having to get their diplomas through the mail, but I am glad that this is not the case at California High School. As far as my plans after graduation, I plan to go to Southwest Baptist University to get my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. Getting my doctorate will take seven years, but I know that it will be worth it. I am looking forward to helping others in my future career, and I am looking forward to seeing where God's plan for my life will take me."

Clayton Winkler

Clayton Winkler: "I'm definitely excited and so surprised. I figured this quarantine order would last a little bit longer. But thankfully, we get to have a graduation. I've been really looking forward to that, but we only get to have four family members attend, and that's a bummer. I am mostly looking forward to the satisfying feeling of accomplishing high school. I also cannot wait to look out towards my family in the crowd right after I receive (my diploma). So, first I plan to finish out my full-time job right after graduation, which will last until August. And then, I plan on finishing my schooling at Ozark Technical Community College where I will pursue in the lineman program, also known as electrical distributions."

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