MASON — Sixty-three seniors joined the ranks of Wahama High School alumni after receiving their diplomas in an unconventional graduation ceremony.
Held June 27, nearly a month after the original date set of May 29, commencement exercises for the Class of 2020 were postponed due to COVID-19.
Parents and other guests social distanced themselves in the bleachers as the ceremony took place on the football field. The seniors sat six feet apart in what is believed to be the first outdoor graduation held at Wahama in 22 years.
As seniors made their way to the front as their names were called, diplomas were placed on a table, one by one, for them to pick up. They received the commonplace congratulatory well wishes from administrators, teachers and school board members, but absent were the many handshakes and occasional hugs.
“With a senior year comprehensive of unfortunate and unsuspecting circumstances, it is only apt that we commemorate this year’s class with an untraditional graduation ceremony compared to previous years,” said Zachary Roush, class president, during his student address.
He urged his classmates to not think of graduation day as a last goodbye, but as a moment of recognition and success. Roush said it is the final step in proving they can overcome challenges.
“I implore everyone to challenge themselves just as our senior year has challenged us,” Roush said. “I encourage you to stay positive because with each challenge that comes, we have to appreciate the moments of enjoyment; the moments that no matter how hard we try, can never be recreated. With every roadblock, there will be beautiful, lasting memories. It is our job to allow these gratifying moments to outweigh the somber instances.”
Top senior MacKenzie Barr also gave a student address, and encouraged her classmates to embrace their individuality and uniqueness.
Citing Romans 12:6-8 from the Bible, Barr told the graduates that whatever gift they have been given, to use it to the best of their ability. She said throughout the last few months, darkness and hatred have filled the world, but there have also been glimmers of light and hope.
“I encourage you to use your individuality and your talents to the best of your ability, and I encourage you to be the change and hope this world truly needs,” she said. “I wish you all the best in your future endeavors, and in this world full of darkness, I hope you are able to be the glimmers of light.”
Principal Melissa VanMeter presented the class to Superintendent Jack Cullen prior to the presentation of diplomas, as read by Assistant Principal Don Linger. Class advisors included Ed Fry, Mason Hicks, Tirza Kay and James Toth.
Those graduating were:
Summa Cum Laude – MacKenzie Dawn Barr, Adam Todd Groves, Olivia Rae Johnson, Tayllor Dawn King, Abram Xavier Pauley, Zachary Thomas Roush, and Emma-Marie Grace Tomlinson.
Magna Cum Laude – Connor Lee Bumgarner, Ashtyn Brooke Nichole Cavender, Emily Aiko Mattox, Tanner Randal McDaniel, Hannah Marie Rose, and Abby Michelle Taylor.
Cum Laude – Dalton Elias Berkley, Brayden Michael Davenport, Corissa Shay Lloyd, Payton Michelle McFarland, Paul Michael Miller, Trinity Danielle Neal, Josiah David Park, Sophia Dawn Russell, Adrianna Faith Stewart, Jerry Allen Walker, III, Addisyn Ryann Williams, and Mariah Faith Young.
Also, Kenneth Weldon Baker, Aaron Jeffrey Beard, Hunter Christian Board, Nicholas Andrew Brewer, Chisgen Gy Bush, Kyher Jaden Spencer Bush, Austin Michael Courtney, Avery Zane Davis, Caden Alexander Denny, Dralen Russell Derifield, Dalton Christopher Duff, Bryce Matthew Fields, Raven Nicole Franklin, Tabitha Lee Grimm,
Kierra Adianna Hendrickson, Brennen Sky Hieronymus, Kody Ryan Hollis, Trevor Ryan Hunt, Dylan McKay Kisamore, Joseph Scott Krebs, Cassie Lashae Parsons, Wesley Ray Peters, Wyatt Hunter Powell, Isaiah Thomas Reitmire, David Ryan Roque, William Lee Rose, Alyssa Nicole Roush, Chloe Allyssa Roush, Gabriel Heath Roush,
Jayvin Michael Roush, Camden Bailey Russell, Zachary Scott Shaw, Alan Leland Shilt, Jr., Leann Dawn Shilt, Preston Blaine Somerville, Robert Christopher Thomas, Breauna Doreen Walter, and Ty Michael White.
Cords worn by some of the graduates denote the following:
Gold – National Honor Society;
Blue and white – Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society;
Green and white – 4-H;
Citrus Green – Mason County Career Center; and,
Orange and white – FAFSA.
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Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at [email protected]