BIDWELL — Seniors from the River Valley High School Class of 2020 recently bid farewell from afar following months of unforseen challenges brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Due to issues surrounding the virus, River Valley High School scheduled students for private in-person graduation ceremonies and pulled together a digital video compromising all students and guest speakers in a commencement ceremony and released that video Friday evening on YouTube for all to see.
RVHS Principal T.R. Edwards and Gallia County Local Schools Superintendent Jude Meyers shared words of encouragement to graduating seniors.
Edwards invited Shayla Noelle Sanger to speak as the representative of the summa cum laude honors graduates.
“We all met each other at one of the most awkward, vulnerable stages of our lives,” said Sanger. “These past four years of understanding who we are and growing have both made us into strong individuals and what seems like a very large, crazy family… You guys have let me be able to witness all of you grow into such beautiful individuals that have been cultivated by the temperance and compassion they have shown for each other. Junior year was the year I saw a big change in myself. I was no longer scared when I was surrounded by you guys. I saw a family. One that I loved being a part of. Throughout that year, I made stronger connections and knew leaving would break my heart as it does right now. I never thought that our time together would be cut so short… I have seen you guys be mentors and be beautiful, passionate people. All the accomplishments and growth this small class has achieved is exceptional and I am so lucky to be a part of it… I know that we as part of the River Valley Class of 2020 will continue to prosper outside of high school and I cannot wait to see where life takes us.”
Eric Whitt, president of the River Valley High School Alumni Association, shared that graduating seniors would receive a free one-year membership in the association as a congratulations gift. The association would be starting a scholarship fund as well with its first recipients being Cameron Lee Hess and Cole Branham Thaxton.
“We as a class got to experience what other seniors have not had,” said RVHS Class of 2020 President Ethan Cline. “We had strangers praying, sharing love, caring, spreading kindness and more, just to make the Class of 2020 know that there are people out there who love each and every one of us. Not only do they love us, but as a class, as a family, we will always have a place in our heart for each other. Although some of us may be going our separate ways, this is not the end but only the beginning. As we embark on life’s journey, always think back on the good times and maybe not so good times to remember that nothing will be as easy as it seems and that you’ll always have someone there for you. We as a class have conquered so much over the past four years. Undoubtedly more than any other class has. We overcame mental obstacles, physical life barriers, embarrassments, stepping out of our comfort zones, heartbreaks and remedies and so much more. Yet, we still smile at each other and we carry on through our day. That’s why I’m honored to be a part of the 2020 graduating class. You know, the one where we were all quarantined. I would now like to leave you with the same quote I told you at the beginning of this year. I wholeheartedly believe that this quote has the perfect meaning for the Class of 2020. ‘Do not go where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.’ Thank you all so much. I love every single one of you…”
A chair of remembrance was placed in honor of Karlee Ann Didelotte.
Tyler David Hess received the school’s red cord for his academic strength in social studies. Derek Michael Reese received the green cord for his strength in science. Ryan James Snyder received the mauve cord representing English. Kalynn Michelle Sturgeon received the blue cord for math. Noah Lee Patterson received the purple cord for visual arts. Joseph Richard Hubman received the white cord for foreign language and Sanger received the light blue cord for performing arts.
Darian Alexander Peck was recognized for joining the US Armed Forces.
Receiving honors diplomas were: Katie Leann Baker, Payton Layne Crabtree, Cameron Lee Hess, Haven Nicole Kingery, Elisabeth Christine Moffett, Gabriela Lee Ramirez, Derek Michael Reese, Jared Scott Reese, Savannah Dawn Reese, Shayla Noelle Sanger, Ryan James Snyder, Kalynn Michelle Sturgeon, Cole Branham Thaxton, Savannah Nicole Wicker, Alexandria Sky Wood, Summer Nicole Yates.
National Honor Society: Katie Leann Baker, Payton Layne Crabtree, Jerilyn Meriah Darst, Jessika Allyn Hall, Cameron Lee Hess, Hannah Lee Johnson, Haven Nicole Kingery, Savannah Grace Morrow, Courtnie Rose Provens, Derek Michael Reese, Jared Scott Reese, Savannah Dawn Reese, Shayla Noelle Sanger, Katie Marie Slone, Ryan James Snyder, Kalynn Michelle Sturgeon, Cole Branham Thaxton.
Summa Cum Laude graduates: Payton Layne Crabtree, Jessika Allyn Hall, Elisabeth Christine Moffett, Derek Michael Reese, Shayla Noelle Sanger, Ryan James Snyder, Kalynn Michelle Sturgeon.
Magna Cum Laude graduates: Lora May Kinney, Savannah Dawn Reese, Katie Marie Slone, Cole Branham Thaxton, Savannah Nicole Wicker.
Cum Laude graduates: Katie Leann Baker, Jerilyn Meriah Darst, Kaylee Marie Gillman, Cameron Lee Hess, Hannah Lee Johnson, Haven Nicole Kingery, Savannah Grace Morrow, Courtnie Rose Provens, Gabriela Lee Ramirez, Jared Scott Reese, Alexandria Sky Wood, Summer Nicole Yates.
A complete list of graduates as submitted in the RVHS commencement program is as follows:
Katie Leann Baker, Katlyn Marie Bates, Jordan Alexes Bays, Ashley Dawn Beaver, Kasey Dale Birchfield, Kendra Shae Blackburn, Gina Brooke Brewer, Brantley Thomas Brown, Joel Nathaniel Brumfield, Jordan Ray Burns.
Chase Allen Caldwell, Brandon Lee Call, Taylor Paige Casey, Isabella Dawn Chapman, Abby Marie Childress, Natalee Brooke Clark, Ethan Michael Cline, John Franklin Colwell, Lee Jay Combs, Nathaniel Dale Conrad.
Payton Layne Crabtree, Jerilyn Meriah Darst, Brady Luis Dawson, Alex Gunner Dinguss, Whitney Rose Dobbins, Breanna Rose Dodrill, Jade Nichole Douglas, Evalena Avanelle Ehman, Makayland Nikole Jordan Evans, Joshua Kenneth Farmer.
Samantha June Ferrell, Markita Dawn Foreman, LaRon Darryn Garnes, Johnny D. Gerber, Gabrielle Grace Gibson, Kaylee Marie Gillman, Colton Robert Gilmore, Andrea Dawn Green, Jessika Allyn Hall.
Ashley Nicole Hatfield, Keith Austin Hersman, Cameron Lee Hess, Tyler David Hess, Joseph Wendel Holmes, Madison Eden House, Morgan Nathaniel House, Joseph Richard Hubman, Hannah Lee Johnson, Haylie Bryonna Jones.
Kaylee Madison Jones, Keli-Abigail Justus, Haven Nicole Kingery, Lora May Kinney, Makayla Lynn Lambert, Shalyn Jade Lambert, Austin Michael Livingston, Savannah Sky Livingston, Devan David Edward Martin, Charles Elbert Masters IV.
Jacob Eugene McGhee, Killian Lark McGinness, Chantelle Brooke McLain, Elisabeth Christine Moffett, Matthew Richard Mollohan, Savannah Grace Morrow, Brady Jeremiah Newsome, Hope Ann Marie Norman, Briana Nicole O’Dell.
Cassidy Nicole Oiler, Ryan Porter Ooten, George Arthur Owens, Jr., Nicholas Chase Painter, Noah Lee Patterson, Daniel Scott Paugh, Darian Alexander Peck, Courtnie Rose Provens, Gabriela Lee Ramirez, Derek Michael Reese.
Jared Scott Reese, Savannah Dawn Reese, Cierra Nicole Reynolds, Tyler Ashton Roberts, Dawson Blake Russell, Shayla Noelle Sanger, Jamal Michael Shivers, Cassidy Jade Simpson, Katie Marie Slone, Ryan James Snyder.
Jennifer Renet Spires, Isaiah Thomas Stamper, Kalynn Michelle Sturgeon, Cole Branham Thaxton, Hannah Marie Thomas, Kaylee Marie Tucker, Savannah Nicole Wicker, Alexandria Sky Wood, Summer Nicole Yates, Cole Michael Young.
To view the official commencement ceremony by filmmaker Mike Thompson, go to YouTube or click on the following link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tv1UjSTgnXM
© 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.
Beth Sergent contributed to this article.