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$501 Graduates Recognized at “Midyear” Ceremony

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Topeka Public Schools USD 501 held a midyear graduation ceremony for all three high schools in the area: Highland Park High School, Topeka High School, and Topeka West High School on Thursday to celebrate students who have fully completed their education.

Topeka High School principal Rebecca Morrisey said USD 501 hosted midyear graduation ceremonies for the first time when the COVID-19 pandemic was in full effect, but the district decided to continue hosting the ceremonies.

“During COVID, we wanted to be able to have mid-year graduation for those who needed to move forward, and there were a lot of students who were uncomfortable,” Morrisey said. “We weren’t even sure if we were going to have the ceremony in May because things were so unknown, so we just wanted to make sure that at that point when we could have the ceremony, we were doing it for as many students as we could.”

According to Morrisey, 178 students had a chance to walk across the stage now, but Thursday’s ceremony saw 32 students take advantage of the opportunity to have an early formal ceremony. Lei morrisey also said she’s just plain proud to see students succeed and get their high school diplomas.

“The thing for me is that need is about high school,” Morrisey said. “I mean, we get promotions in middle school, but a college degree means you earned it. So, these students had to pass the classes they have to take, they had to pass the number of credits they must have and they had to do it successfully so that they can get this diploma in their hands and move forward but I am very proud when they achieve this finish line.

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