MERCERVILLE — South Gallia High School graduating seniors said goodbye recently to their alma mater and took their first steps into the broader world despite COVID-19 outbreak challenges.
Graduating seniors took part in private in-person graduating ceremonies with loved ones and school staff to recognize their school career achievements. A digital video was then organized and released Saturday morning in recognition of the SGHS Class of 2020.
SGHS Principal Bray Shamblin discussed the importance of the “Rebel family” and offered words of encouragement to students along with Gallia County Local Schools Superintendent Jude Meyers.
WSAZ Best of the Class Representative Olivia Harrison was invited by Shamblin to address the public. Harrison represented the top 10 percent of her class, is a summa cum laude graduate and received an honors diploma.
“Today is that day,” said Harrison. “Seniors, its been a long road, but here we are. Though we have encountered bumps along the way, we still stand together. It has been 13 years since we began this journey and we have made memories that are unforgettable. It seems just like yesterday that we were trading silly bands, playing on the playground and going to rinky-dink games. During our fifth grade year, it came as a shock to us that we did not get to stay at the elementary for our last year. We were the first class to come to the high school as sixth graders so we had to grow up a little earlier than expected. As you went through high school, I hope you never took your education for granted and that you enjoyed your classes. High school is the only time you’re able to receive free skills such as baking, carpentry, guitar lessons, computer training, math tutoring and free editing. I hope you cherished this special time because the day has come when we will go our separate ways. This class is a very special one because we are both academically and athletically inclined… We have taken pride in our school clubs and we could not count the endless hours we have given back to our community… Many achievements have allowed the Class of 2020 to make its mark here. Through determination, perseverance and fortitude, we have developed the mindset to do what it takes to succeed…”
Shamblin next invited Kyle Northup to address the public as the co-president of the SGHS Class of 2020. Northup also represented the top 10 percent of his class and is a summa cum laude graduate.
“To the Class of 2020, we have always been a class that has battled adversity. From being born before, during or after nine-eleven. Nine-eleven has affected the way we are raised in some ways,” said Northup. “You might not know it or see it, but your parents probably do. And now we’re graduating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though we’re not having the usual graduation, our class has always fought through and come out better on the other side. A famous Usain Bolt quote that I want to share with you is ‘The sky has no limits and neither should you.’ Our class has succeeded in many things while being in school. From academics to arts and music to sports, we have all left our mark on South Gallia and will forever be a part of South Gallia’s history. Once a rebel, always a rebel. As this chapter in our story winds down and comes to an end, I want to wish everyone the best of luck as they enter the next chapter in their lives…”
Next, Jared Ward, co-president of the SGHS Class of 2020, was invited to speak.
“The Class of 2020 has made it here,” said Ward. “Although this may be the end of our journey through some of the greatest times of our lives. We just unlocked a new door to a new journey, a new beginning. Many of us will spread apart and some of us may never even see each other again. But all of it will have a reason behind it. I would like to wish each and every one of my classmates good luck as they start their journey. As I stand here today reflecting on the past years, I mostly remember the good memories. This is a good thing because it reminds me of what I’ve had in the past and allows me to look forward at the great things that lie in my future. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, ‘Do not follow where the path may lead, go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.’ He left a mark on my mind as he said this because I know that each of us will be leaving our own trail. It helps me to realize that the success of the Class of 2020 contains within it. The Class of 2020 is a very special class and and has an endless amount of talent. I know that every one of these graduates at South Gallia High School from the Class of 2020 will create their own path. I would like to say I’m very proud of my classmates…”
Appearing below is the entire list of 2020 graduates as presented by South Gallia High School in the official commencement program, with * denoting honors diplomas; % denoting top 10 percent of the class; + denoting summa cum laude graduates; # denoting magna cum laude graduates; @ denoting cum laude graduates; ^ denotes merit list:
Jaslyn Renae Bowers, Katelynn Renea Bowling, Jared Tyler Burdette, Edward Justin Butler *@, Jaycelyn Anne Caldwell, Jesse Ryan Chapman, Leslee Johanna Clark ^, Alyssa Noel Cremeens, Desirea ShyAnn Davis, Austin Michael Hay Day #.
Zachary Donald DeLaire, Bladen Lee Ebersole, Christine Lynn Griffith #, Broadie Lee Haislop, Malynda Rae Harrison, Olivia Jade Harrison % * +, Destiny Marie Hartman, Christopher Paul Holley % * #, Amaya Lauren Howell % * +, Olivia Hope Johnson % #.
Alison Nicole Lockhart, Madison Jo Lucas #, Mackenzie Leslie Martin #, Kara Beth McCormick, Zackery Alexander Lee McGuire, Lillian Faye McHargue, Christian Bradley Moore, Caleb Nelson Neal, Jacob Theodore Neal, Kyle David Northup % +.
Emily Marie Oram, William Lee Montgomery Orsbon, Christopher William Peck, Sierra Marie Phillips, Emily Paige Riggle, Brycton Keith Robie, Emily Grace Kathlene Robson ^, Christopher Hunter Sanders, Trinity Raine Sanders, Jeffrey Earl Sheets.
Nathaniel Ray Simms, Savannah Rose St. Clair, Sydney Paige St. Clair, Nolan Ray Kap Stanley @, Kiley Makina Stapleton, Cassadee Dawn Stonecipher, Jared Michael Ward, Shawn Daniel Ward ^, Juanita Raenae Wray, Bishop Mathias Yester.
To view commencement ceremonies filmed by Jason Stout, who is a teacher at South Gallia, access this link on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YG67Zutk7HE
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