by Michael Boyink / [email protected]
They were graduated.
They are graduated.
No matter which version you deem grammatically correct, last Friday night 81 young adults walked into C. E. Harlan Stadium as High School Seniors and walked out as the school’s newest alumni.
Delayed and physically spaced out due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event was also foreshortened to limit crowd exposure.
Ava R-1 Principal Dr. Teresa Nash was the first to address the class of 2020.
“It’s your time now, Class of 2020, to chase your dreams,” Nash said. “It doesn’t matter if your dream is to have a career, earn a college degree, or stay right here on the family farm. It’s time to believe that you are capable of making your dreams come true.”
Student speakers were Class President Camryn Lee and Class Secretary Eden Little.
Lee spoke about the value of faith in the schools.
“I hope you know how proud I am to be part of a graduating class who isn’t afraid to show our faith, she said. “I hope we pass that strength on to our underclassmen and we continue to give God 100% of the glory.”
Little – an accomplished runner – described completing high school like finishing a race.
“In cross country we learned to identify small goals that we could see, like the next tree,” she said. “That way we were never overwhelmed by the thought of running the next three miles to the finish line. Today, Class of 2020, we have reached that finish line.”
Both speakers also recounted their years in the Ava school system and commented on how the virus situation had affected their senior year.
Diplomas were handed out following the class speakers.
Two students, Emaly Keyes and Haley Herrera, also received Associates Degrees from Drury University.
Following the graduation ceremony, seniors stayed in the stadium for the Project Graduation post-event party.
While Ava High School doesn’t recognize a single valedictorian or salutatorian, the school does award medals to students who achieve high grade point averages over their school career.
The following class of 2020 students were awarded medals for scholastic achievement:
4.0 – Gold Medal:
- Claire Fossett
- Olivia Heriford
- Haley Herrera
- Emaly Keyes
- Megan Lakey
- Eden Little
- Karcee McFarlin
- Grace Roberts
- Reagan Swatosh
3.85-3.99 – Silver Medal:
- Hunter Downs
- Sunsarah Johnston
- Dylan King
- Regan Koop
- Sydney Snelson
- Alexander Stevens
- Nate Swofford
3.50-3.84 – Bronze Medal:
- Caleb Brown
- Calee Dollarhide
- Taylor Ernst
- Jacob Gillies
- Tristan Lapointe
- Makayla Miller
- Brayden Mitchell
- Caiden Palmer
- Clara Sicilia