After a tumultuous 2020 when COVID-19 disrupted each classroom instruction and commencement workouts, a whole lot of seniors returned to normalcy in current days by ceremonies celebrating each their educational achievements and overcoming the pandemic.
But the coronavirus loomed over the proceedings held at varied campuses throughout Surry County, as was the case Saturday morning throughout Mount Ethereal Excessive Faculty’s graduation program.
“Wow, what a yr it has been,” Valedictorian Brooke Lankford instructed a big crowd assembled on the college’s soccer subject, saying COVID-19 had offered an academic expertise in itself.
“I discovered that staying constructive could make all of the distinction.”
Such feedback have been echoed at different graduation packages throughout the county — collectively recognizing the truth that it has been a yr like no different, however the human spirit triumphed over adversity as soon as once more.
MOUNT AIRY HIGH SCHOOL
Diplomas have been awarded to 135 MAHS seniors Saturday morning throughout a program that punctuated a victory arguably as huge as any achieved by the Bears soccer crew in the identical venue.
Senior Class President Peyton Harmon, one in every of 5 pupil audio system on this system, neatly summed up occasions of the previous yr as “this most uncommon time in our lives.”
He went on to say that at intervals in life when the whole lot appears to be going properly, some surprising occasion can happen which disrupts even the best-laid of plans.
“COVID made that fairly clear to me,” the Class of 2021 president noticed, whereas mentioning how good issues can nonetheless occur beneath such circumstances.
“We didn’t again down from the challenges of COVID,” Harmon mentioned of 1 such end result, as evidenced by the proud look of the graduates Saturday. “We did it!” he exclaimed.
One other speaker Tessa Stovall, the vice chairman of the senior class, supplied an identical view:
“Whereas this faculty yr has been something however strange, we’re all glad to commemorate this big day.”
Darius Walker, Mount Ethereal Excessive’s pupil physique president, cited an added diploma of pleasure surrounding Saturday’s milestone, involving the truth that the campus was opened to in-person studying final August.
“We have been the one faculty within the state of North Carolina to take action,” mentioned Walker, his remarks drawing loud applause from these assembled, together with relations and mates of graduates packing the stadium bleachers.
That distinction additionally was acknowledged Saturday by Dr. Kim Morrison, the superintendent of Mount Ethereal Metropolis Faculties.
“I’m so grateful to everybody who made this occur,” Morrison mentioned throughout her time on the podium, particularly praising faculty board members who rendered the tough choice to proceed with in-person studying.
NORTH SURRY HIGH SCHOOL
North Surry graduated 163 seniors Saturday in Charles Atkins Memorial Stadium.
Isaac Riggs, pupil physique president, spoke to his fellow graduates in regards to the significance of being variety. He shared experiences of missionary journeys taken throughout his youth to Ecuador and the Dominican Republic and the way the significance of being variety to at least one one other was one thing he discovered by these visits.
“I need us to know that the small issues matter — attempt to have a constructive affect on somebody’s day,” Riggs said.
“We as ‘common’ folks don’t all the time have to present huge quantities of cash or carry out superb acts of generosity, however can merely be variety and do the little issues — this may have the most important affect, generally greater than .”
Riggs was acknowledged because the salutatorian of the NSHS Class of 2021. He can be a pupil at Lenoir-Rhyne College within the fall.
James Jessup was the valedictorian of North Surry’s Class of 2021 and likewise the senior class president. As well as, he served as Scholar Authorities Affiliation president at Surry Group Faculty this previous yr.
Jessup graduated from SCC earlier than he truly did from highschool and is headed to the College of North Carolina within the fall to ultimately pursue a profession in legislation.
He spoke to his classmates about trying to the long run.
In his speech, the valedictorian quoted Malcolm X: “Training is the passport to the long run.”
Jessup additionally left classmates with a little bit of his personal recommendation, saying that “whatever the pathway we take, all of us have the potential to make a distinguished affect.”
EAST SURRY HIGH SCHOOL
Perseverance was a central theme of the East Surry commencement ceremony held inside David H. Diamont Stadium Friday night.
“It’s laborious to disregard the elephant within the room after we’re discussing our highschool expertise,” mentioned Colton Allen, East Surry senior class president. For 135 graduating seniors, attending their remaining yr of highschool throughout a pandemic posed all new challenges on prime of the standard trials college students face.
Each pupil audio system — Allen and Scholar Physique President Chloe Hunter — in addition to Charity Rosenhauer, who carried out Riley Clemmons’ track “Carry on Hoping,” careworn the significance of by no means giving up when confronted with seemingly unattainable odds. An excerpt from Rosenhauer’s track completely expressed this message to these in attendance: “Raise your eyes, you’re gonna be alright. You’ve acquired the energy to maintain on going, so carry on hoping.”
The varsity yr started with distant studying, transitioned into alternating faculty days through which college students discovered in cohorts, then slowly however absolutely made its manner again right into a extra regular atmosphere that permitted commencement to happen.
College students have been capable of expertise all of the issues one would anticipate to see at a commencement ceremony together with the loud mates and households that stuffed the bleachers, the smiling, and maskless faces of scholars as they walked throughout the stage to shake arms with (or chest bump) Principal Jared Jones, in addition to the cloud of foolish string that stuffed the air after the declaration of commencement.
East Surry was additionally capable of correctly honor the 2 college students with the best cumulative GPAs. Jacob Michael Haywood was acknowledged as valedictorian and Chloe Noelle Sloop as salutatorian.
SURRY CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL
At Surry Central Excessive Faculty’s ceremony Thursday night in Dobson, some graduates danced throughout the stage or fluttered flags as capes whereas crossing the edge to their post-high faculty futures.
“It’s no secret that the previous three semesters have been difficult,” Principal Misti Holloway instructed them.
“You rose to those challenges and you’ve got conquered them.”
This yr’s senior class will disperse with 122 pursuing post-secondary training, six getting into the navy and 46 becoming a member of the workforce.
SURRY EARLY COLLEGE
Getting a bounce on graduations this yr with the primary native ceremony was one of many newer instructional establishments within the county, Surry Early Faculty Excessive Faculty.
Marking its 2021 graduating class have been 64 college students who achieved that instructional milestone.
This was the eleventh Surry Early Faculty Excessive Faculty commencement ceremony, with college students incomes each a highschool diploma and a two-year school diploma. The 64 college students have been honored in in a ceremony held on Might 21.
Two of the category’ prime college students have been the featured audio system, remembering their years collectively on the faculty in addition to encouraging classmates to sit up for a brilliant future.
The senior speaker was Mason Elijah Melton and the “tremendous” senior speaker, Paloma Garcia-Serrano.
SURRY ONLINE MAGNET SCHOOL
Surry On-line Magnet Faculty not solely celebrated the milestone reached by its seniors Friday afternoon, however the truth that they represented the first-ever graduating class of a novel establishment.
“You positioned a mark on historical past,” particular speaker Dr. Jill Reinhardt instructed the seven departing college students throughout their graduation workouts on the Surry County Authorities Heart in Dobson — a small group with a big achievement,
Surry On-line Magnet Faculty had supplied them the choice of finishing a highschool training by way of strictly on-line means stressing customized studying by distinctive and versatile alternatives desired by college students for varied causes.
They did so with “no classroom partitions, no metallic desks and no cafeteria,” mentioned Reinhardt, who retired from Surry County Faculties in January however had served as a key member of a growth and implementation crew to make the net magnet idea a actuality.
Although missing partitions, the college does have a mascot, the Trailblazers, which was referred to a number of instances throughout Friday’s graduation.
Reinhardt mentioned the person graduates might need begun their instructional careers as Cedar Ridge Elementary Faculty Panthers or Westfield Wildcats, however have been ending as Trailblazers — signifying the individuality of the brand new on-line public faculty that was groundbreaking each domestically and statewide.
The scholars have been people “who took an opportunity on change and progress,” mentioned the graduation speaker, who added that some thought the college couldn’t get off the bottom throughout a pandemic and attain what it has in such a short while.
The graduates additionally have been praised Friday by their principal, Kristin Blake:
“You’ve trailblazed by your training and everybody who’s right here at present is happy with your accomplishment.”
MILLENNIUM CHARTER ACADEMY
Millennium Constitution Academy introduced its fourth graduating class on the annual graduation ceremony on Saturday.
This yr’s class is the college’s largest with 34 graduates, 80 % of whom are going to a school or college, together with an Ivy League faculty, with the stability heading immediately into the workforce.
MCA’s graduation’s theme was “The Occasions We Are Given,” a reference to how the scholars, faculty and households courageously handled the pandemic, even with all of the challenges introduced, and accomplished a extremely profitable faculty yr.
Saturday’s keynote speaker was Stan Jewell, president and CEO of Renfro Manufacturers, an organization that additionally dealt efficiently with the instances it was given when Renfro switched from sock manufacturing to masks manufacturing and actually masked Mount Ethereal and varied different cities.
Jewell’s tackle supplied sound recommendation to the graduates and all these current. He mentioned it issues not a lot the place an individual goes in his or her life, however how they acquired there.
The speaker inspired each pupil to journey by life with authenticity, being true to themselves, and to have curiosity and grit and work laborious in all that they do.
In contrast to final yr’s graduation ceremony, which was held outside as households watched from their vehicles, this yr’s program happened in MCA’s higher faculty gymnasium.
Graduates have been restricted to 6 visitors every, and all attendees have been masked.