Elcho graduation

 Elcho High School graduates pose with their banners at Saturday’s socially distant graduation ceremony.

 Twelve of Elcho High School’s 2020 graduating class returned to their alma mater on Saturday, celebrating an in-person commencement ceremony.

Attendance was limited to just 50 people and social distancing guidelines meant the graduates and audience sprawled across the school field house.

But traditions remained. The graduated entered to the traditional Pomp and Circumstance and were treated to welcoming remarks by Principal Paige Zutavern.

“I am sure many of you had your doubts, as did I, that we would be able to gather together today to bring closure to your educational career. The struggles and disappointments we have all endured over the last several months have been a reminder that nothing in life is guaranteed, and to relish every moment that you can,” Zutavern said 

She stressed that the seniors should look back over their entire high school careers, rather than just the final few frenzied months.

“Even though your time was cut short, I hope you see the value and influence you had on our school and recognize just how much you will be missed,” she said. “As you embark on this wonderful, crazy, roller-coaster journey of adult life, know that you will always be an Elcho Hornet at heart and you will always have a place in our school. The years you have spent here have shaped you all into fine young individuals.”

Guidance counselor Scott Wilsens presented a long list of scholarship awards. They included:

—Alexis Angotti: Cieslak Family Scholarship ($1,000), Elcho School Scholarship Achievement Award ($500). 

—Faith Becker: Pelican Lake Fire Department Scholarship ($750), Sno Devils Club Scholarship ($250) 

—Carissa Belland: Antigo Junior Women Scholarship ($300), Austin Palubicki Memorial Scholarship ($500), Cieslak Family Scholarship ($1,000), Darrel Thomas Award ($300), Elcho Alumni Club Scholarship ($500), Elcho School Scholarship Achievement Award ($1,000), Excellence Award ($500), Pelican Lake Area Chamber of Commerce ($800), Pelican Lake Women’s Civics Club Scholarship ($500). 

—Clayton Hightree: Elcho PTO Award ($250), Elcho School Scholarship Achievement Award ($750), Hyland Lakes Lions Scholarship ($500).

—Natasha Lewer: Challenge Award ($400), Elcho Explorers 4-H Scholarship ($250), Sno Devils Club Scholarship ($250). 

—Kiara Murphy: Believe In Yourself Award ($500), Elcho Fire Department Scholarship ($500) Elcho School Scholarship Achievement Award ($250.

Kelli Paulsen: Austin Palubicki Memorial Scholarship ($500), Elcho Alumni Club Scholarship ($500), Elcho School Scholarship Achievement Award ($1,500), Medford Cooperative Scholarship ($400), Pelican Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Scholarship ($800), Pelican Lake Baseball Scholarship ($750), Pelican Lake Women’s Civics Club Scholarship ($500), Remington Foundation Scholarship ($1,000). 

—Lincoln Reichl: Cieslak Family Scholarship ($1,000),  Elcho Alumni Club Scholarship ($500), Elcho School Scholarship Achievement Award ($1,000), KTC Memorial Scholarship ($1,250), Pelican Lake Area Chamber of Commerce ($800). 

—Erica Rusch: Austin Palubicki Memorial Scholarship ($500), Elcho Alumni Club Scholarship ($500), Ladies of Summit Lake Scholarship ($250), Pelican Lake Fire Department Scholarship ($750). 

—Anna Schilling: Austin Palubicki Memorial Scholarship ($500), Elcho Alumni Club Scholarship ($500), Elcho School Scholarship Achievement Award ($2,500), Pelican Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Scholarship ($800), Pelican Lake Baseball Scholarship ($750), Remington Foundation Scholarship ($1,000). 

—Katelyn Slowik: Badger State Scholarship ($500), Elcho Alumni Club Scholarship ($500), Elcho School Scholarship Achievement Award ($2,000), MaryAnn McCarthy Scholarship ($500), Pelican Lake Area Chamber of Commerce ($800), Remington Foundation Scholarship ($1,000), Visser Community Service Scholarship ($500). 

Instructor Mary Brendemuehl read the names of the graduates and there was a slide show before Zutavern took the podium again to offer closing remarks.

“The last few months, and especially today, have been filled with so many emotions, especially being back here together for the first time since March 17. As we depart today, I hope it is a  see you soon rather than a final good-bye,” she said. “Thank you for your positive influence on our school and community, and for all of the memories over the years.”

The ceremony was one of a series of events the school held to honor its seniors in the absence of the usual commencement.

Staff delivered yard signs to acknowledge seniors in May and on what would have been graduation day, May 30, delivered diplomas to each graduate’s home.

There was also a virtual commencement ceremony sent to them on that day, including remarks by valedictorian Anna Schilling and salutatorian Katelyn Slowik.