The Wisconsin School for the Deaf recently held a special parade featuring numerous school staff in a processional recorded to be included in the virtual graduation ceremony held live on the school’s Facebook page. Jessica Robertson, sign language interpreter and her son, Thomas (TJ) share smiles and “I love you,” signs with the graduates. (Penny Gruetzmacher photo)

Two students from this area among the Class of 2020

By Heather Ruenz

Staff Writer

The Wisconsin School for the Deaf had nine graduating seniors this year. The residential school for students 3 to 21 years old who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind from throughout the state of Wisconsin.

Among the graduates from throughout the state are two from this area – Tabitha Bearsley, of Delavan, and Madison Bongard, of Elkhorn.

Due to COVID-19, the school’s graduation procession was done via a vehicle parade this year featuring staff for the virtual commencement held later that week.

“We wanted to celebrate our graduating seniors, who will be crossing the (virtual) stage,” the school said prior to the event.

The Wisconsin School for the Deaf, much like all other schools in Wisconsin, throughout the country, and throughout the world, has been impacted by the COVID 19 crisis.

“Our students, who come from all areas of the state to attend school at the Wisconsin School for the Deaf have been learning via virtual classrooms from their homes since April,” the school stated.

“Due to the visual and social nature of the Deaf Culture, this has of course been a challenging time for our students and staff alike. Our seniors have worked so hard throughout their educational careers to get to this exciting milestone in their lives, and we’d like to make it as special as possible for them,” it said.

The processional began at the back of the school where staff will assembled their decorated vehicles into a line and from there began the caravan, which made its way onto Highway M and around before driving through the circle in front of the school.

The recording of the processional was played during WSD’s virtual graduation ceremony that was livestreamed on the school’s Facebook page on June 12.

      Read more about Bearsley and Bongard as well as the special celebration, in several June 25-26 Southern Lakes Newspapers’ publications.



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