On Saturday, July 25, Shakopee High School graduates celebrated the end of an unusual year by receiving their diplomas at a socially-distanced outdoor event.

When it became clear that gathering in large crowds would not be an option, school administrators made the decision to move the high school’s graduation ceremony to a virtual format. However, seniors and family members were still invited to come to Vaughan Field to receive their diplomas in-person.

The ceremony and diploma distribution were live-streamed on a website created by Nick Mabee, a 2014 SHS graduate. Mabee is the founder of madcap creative, a Shakopee-based digital agency that creates web and video content for companies throughout the Twin Cities metro.

This spring when COVID-19 moved classes online and in-person graduation ceremonies became out of the question, “it became clear that we would need to buckle up and prepare to do things differently for quite some time,” Mabee said.

With his background in video production and creating digital experiences, Mabee saw an opportunity to help seniors celebrate their accomplishments.

“I reached out to the school district because I know what an effect my own graduation in 2014 had on me,” said Mabee. “I couldn’t imagine going through graduation without some sort of celebration.”

Both the livestream and ceremony became publicly available for viewing on July 25. Those who know a graduate can go back and view the ceremony at sabers2020.org for the “foreseeable future,” said Mabee.

Mabee said he is grateful for his time spent with the drama program at SHS, which taught him to get out of his comfort zone and expanded his skill set in audio and video work. He also said he was lucky to have parents, friends and teachers that encouraged his entrepreneurial spirit.

Mabee’s word of wisdom to the class of 2020 is that “things are going to be weird, for at least a while.”

“Keep doing what you’re doing if it makes you happy, and if it doesn’t look into other fields,” said Mabee. “Now is your time to experiment — just do it while wearing a mask.”

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