Graduation parties still happening, just with new guidelines and circumstances

Trisha Gebhart and Peyton Nordby, two Detroit Lakes High School seniors, have had to change dates, food, location and more for their graduation parties this summer.

"Once it's over I just want to feel like I graduated," Trisha Gebhart said about the late DLHS graduation and her late grad party. (Tribune file photo)

While prom, spring sports, school and more have all been canceled for Detroit Lakes High School seniors, graduation and graduation parties have not. Families are making sure that their senior gets to celebrate their graduation, though later than expected and in a socially distant, safe, adjusted way.

"I had it (my grad party) set for May 24," Trisha Gebhart said in a phone interview on Friday, June 19. "Then we were thinking maybe things would get lifted, and then they ended up not."

Instead, Gebhart is now hosting her party this week, about one month later than it was supposed to be. The location didn't change, as it was always set to be at her house, but she said her family had to take some time to work around schedules, resend invitations and figure out a different option for food.

"We were originally going to cater from a place in Fargo, but they ended up not being able to," Gebhart said. "We ended up just getting from local places."


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"Im actually really excited," Trisha Gebhart said about her graduation party. "I wish it would have happened like a month ago. Hopefully, I'll get to see a lot of people I haven't seen." (Submitted photo)

Peyton Nordby was also going to use a restaurant for food at his party, originally hosting the whole event at Holiday Inn. But now they aren't sure about a location, food, or date, he said.

" We are going to have it but we just don't really know when," he said in a phone interview on Monday, June 22.

'A little bit more uneasy'

Even before the pandemic, Nordby said that he noticed that his parents were a little bit stressed about his graduation party.

"I remember my mom, one night in March, she was up at 1 or 2 (a.m.)," he said.

Nordby is the oldest child in his family and this is the first graduation party that his parents are planning. For him, he hasn't felt the stress of planning yet, saying that "I've just been chillaxing."

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Peyton Nordby said that it's felt like summer to him since March, minus the cooler weather at the time. With the pandemic affecting his track season, schooling, graduation and more, he said that he's been taking everything "day by day." (Submitted photo)


Gebhart is the same, personally feeling "really excited" for her party, she said. She is the youngest child, so her parents have hosted a grad party before, but she did note that they seem different this year, as this is the first time hosting one during a pandemic.

"They (my parents) seem a little bit more uneasy, like they don't know how to move forward," she said. "They're kind of just like 'do whatever's best for you.'"

At the time, Gebhart said that they were still deciding if they should limit how many people could be there at once or if they should offer masks to guests. Nordby also wasn't sure if they would do anything like that for his party, when it happens.

"We don't really know yet," he said.

While the parties and graduation ceremony are later than expected and under unusual circumstances this year, both Gebhart and Nordby thought that they needed to happen.

"I think a lot of people want that so they can get past high school," Nordby said.

"Once we have the ceremony on Sunday (June 28), I think I'll feel more finished with it," Gebhart said. "I just want to feel like I graduated."

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