BIDWELL — You can’t have the darkness without a little light…eventually.
Football stadiums at area high schools were illuminated Monday night at 8:20 p.m. (2020 military time) for 20 minutes and 20 seconds in honor of the Class of 2020. Community members also turned their porch lights on in a show of solidarity for a group of future graduates whose last school year was cut short, along with all those senior year traditions, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
At River Valley High School on Monday, in addition to the lights ablaze at the stadium, the school hosted a Facebook Live stream of the event so the community could view it, comment and share with the students. The school also set up a simultaneous Zoom meeting that members of the Class of 2020 could join to virtually connect with one another again during the event.
RVHS Principal T.R. Edwards reports, at this time, there are 98 students who belong to the Class of 2020 and are scheduled to receive their diplomas.
“One of the first questions I received when the closure was announced related to graduation and traditions associated with graduation,” Edwards said. “At this time, we do not know the specifics of what, when or how graduation will look, but we are developing a plan. Just today I was on a virtual staff meeting sharing ideas and discussing possibilities. We have committed to continuing to be creative and provide experiences to all of our students, especially our seniors.
“In my experience, during the month of May, seniors take time to reflect with one another and just take time to enjoy one another. When we heard about the tribute to the Class of 2020 with the 20-minute lighting of the stadium at 20:20, we tried to find a way the class could enjoy the experience together. That is when we shared a Zoom meeting so those which could, would be able to interact together and enjoy one another. The support of the community through their comments, sharing the Facebook live stream, as well as simply turning their porch light on was awesome and much appreciated. It is important for us to find opportunities for the senior class to enjoy one another, even if it looks a little differently than the usual.”
Edwards explained even though guidance and updates have changed, the district has committed to continuing educational opportunities, meal delivery and weekly check-ins with its student body.
Additionally, RVHS has daily “Senior Shout-Outs” on its Facebook page.
Though the stadiums at River Valley and South Gallia, as well as Memorial Field in Gallipolis, eventually went dark on Monday night, the show of solidarity was meant to remind the Class of 2020 they were not forgotten and someone was waiting on them to return, at least for one final farewell.
More on Monday’s tribute to local graduates from South Gallia High School and Gallia Academy High School in upcoming editions of the Tribune and online at www.mydailytribune.com.
Beth Sergent contributed to this article.
© 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.