The sun was shining bright over the Junior-Senior High School’s football field, as 93 students from the Class of 2020 became graduates in front of family, friends, district staff and members of the board of education. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the graduation was broken up into two ceremonies to ensure public safety.
Several speakers delivered moving speeches and offered words of advice to the graduating class, including Superintendent of Schools Lisa Ruiz, Board of Education President Keith Gamache, Board of Education trustee Neil Schloth, valedictorian Zackary Hirashima, salutatorian Gianna Wayar, Class of 2020 advisers Bethany Kinkaid and Alissa Stegner, Class of 2020 presidents Daniel Gonzalez and Victoria Trowbridge, and high school Principal Richard Schaffer.
Superintendent Ruiz kicked off the speeches and expressed how proud the district is of the Class of 2020, as they have successfully graduated in a year like no other. “Your tenacity, creativity, perseverance and hopefulness have helped you navigate rough and unchartered waters, and everyone here today has been right beside you navigating those same rough and unchartered waters,” she continued. “Use your skills, your intellect, your open-mindedness, your passion, as well as your compassion to help shape our society in a positive way. We’re living in an increasingly complex society with many challenges and difficulties. I hope you remember to see the world through the lens of the human condition and remember that what unites us is greater than what divides us. I’m counting on you, your families, teachers, peers and future generations are counting on you to make this world a better place. We know you will do extraordinary things.”
Principal Shaffer urged students to remember how they’ve collectively adapted during this time unprecedented time of the pandemic. “As you leave here today and start the next chapter of your life, you will be faced with unfamiliar circumstances and will encounter challenges that you’ve never before been asked to deal with. Have the confidence in yourself to know that you’ll be able to navigate the twists and turns that will be presented to you,” he said. “You have the resources at your fingertips that no previous generation has ever had. You have the ability and more significantly the responsibility to lead, the create, to advocate or to make change happen no matter what path you choose in life. All you need is a vision, strong work ethic and a desire to be successful and we will look back on the Class of 2020 as the one where they changed the world.”
Following the distribution of diplomas, the Junior-Senior High School’s Class of 2020 returned to their seats, turned the tassels on their caps from right to left in celebration of their accomplishment.