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Class of 2020 congratulated with journey of a thousand miles

South Eastern School District celebrates a virtual graduation Friday as students hope for an in-person ceremony in July

It's said 'a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.'

But Friday, the journey began with a single pedal across the more than 1,000-mile region of South Eastern School District. 

House by house superintendent Nathan Van Deusen rode to personally congratulate each of the nearly 220 seniors in the class of 2020.

Van Deusen and another teacher marked off 88 of the 220 homes on Friday. 

"I think it's so awesome. Not only is he going around the entire district, he's literally biking. Like, that's got to be so exhausting," said Maria Schneider, an 18-year-old graduate of the district.

Schneider is planning to go to the University of Mary Washington in the fall. But first, Friday night she'll wear her cap and gown in the district's virtual graduation ceremony.

"I think mostly not being able to see everyone for that final time is going to be the hardest part," said Schneider, as she spoke beside a 2020 sign outside her home.

FOX43 AT 4 AND 5

Feet to the pedals! The miles one superintendent is logging to celebrate the class of 2020. How he's bringing a celebration straight to seniors homes. Can't wait to show you this story on WPMT FOX43 at 4 and 5! South Eastern School District

Posted by Jamie Bittner on Friday, May 29, 2020

"They've lost a lot during this COVID-19 crisis," said Van Deusen. "You know, from graduation and end of the year activities."

He added, "this is a celebration of their grit. So, we're coming out today to show a little grit ourselves."

Van Deusen said the bike ride to all seniors homes allowed him to also meet more families as he marks his first year as Superintendent. Each student received an envelope of chocolate. Meantime, Van Deusen gave special thanks to the Director of Transportation who mapped out his ride.

"That's insane. I cannot thank him enough. Even the smallest gesture, it means the world I know to me and probably so many of my classmates," said Schneider. 

South Eastern School District school leaders hope to hold an in-person graduation July 31 if York County is in the green phase at that time.