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Could MHS have traditional graduation in July?

Contributing Writer
Posted on 5/22/2020, 5:01 PM

MARION -- Eager for a return to normalcy but needing to keep in line with Gov. J.B. Pritzker's phased-in approach to opening up Illinois in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Marion Unit 2 Board of Education President John Barwick says a June graduation date is off the table.

"June will be out of the question. It will have to be July, and we'll play our cards from there," said Barwick at Tuesday night's meeting, held via teleconference.

Board member Brandi Bradley noted that other area districts had been having drive-in ceremonies.

But Barwick pushed for a traditional live ceremony.

He said he had recently took part in a virtual graduation for his son at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and found that it "lacked emotion."

Meanwhile, the Board voted 7-0 to reduce required the graduation credits for the class of 2020 from 27 credits to 25 credits.

Meeting via teleconference that was broadcast on Facebook Live, the 2020 retirement recognition portion of the meeting was different from previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down face-to-face learning and made the last year for retiring faculty and staff a difficult one.

The following retirees were honored at the meeting:

• Marba Bertling, elementary teacher, 18 years Marion, 35 total

• Kathy Dallas, Marion Junior High School science, 26 years

• Danny Edwards, MJHS social studies and history, 30 years Marion, 34 total

• Mike Manfredo, MJHS alternative learning, 31 years Marion, 34 total

• Janice Marlo, MJHS Math, 22 years

• Kerry Martin, Marion High School history and civics, 18 years Marion, 33 total

• Lesa Patton, Washington Elementary social worker, 25 years

• Vebbie Troutman, MJHS reading interventionist, 18 years Marion, 24 total

• Beth Wilson, MHS Art, 26 Marion, 33 total

• Pat Brown, chief financial officer, 16 Marion, 37 total

• Tom Colboth, 10 years, custodian, Marion Junior High

Kerry Martin, who has sent countless students to observe Marion City Council meetings as part of his class, said "it is not only an honor to teach, it is an honor to teach in Marion."

The retirees will be presented with their bells at a later date, according to district administrators.