HUNTINGTON — Two hundred and forty-five Spring Valley High School students finally got the graduation ceremony they’ve been waiting for, though it didn’t come how or where they expected it.
“Look at us,” student body president Jake Hutchinson said to those gathered at Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington. “Sure, it’s not the (Mountain Health Arena), but we’re all here together to celebrate one last time, and that’s worthy of a round of applause.”
The ceremony was rescheduled and relocated from its original date and location due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, but on Saturday morning, the graduates and their families got a sense of normalcy.
Principal Tammy Forbush, participating in her final assembly in that role, encouraged the graduating class to remain focused on reaching their dreams as they leave this chapter of their lives behind, using the Hannah Montana song “I Will Always Remember You” to reinforce her message.
“You are standing at the beginning of your dreams and life plans. I want us to focus today not on the seriousness of the pandemic that had such an impact on your senior year, but on your dreams and how you plan to make them a reality,” said Forbush.
As her opening remarks came to a close, she passed things off to Hutchinson who challenged his classmates to find the positives of the unique circumstances the senior class faced.
“I always like to find the positives in every situation I end up in, whether it’s good or bad. Think of the stories the Class of 2020 will be able to tell our kids and grandkids. It’s going to be amazing,” Hutchinson said. “I think 2020 will go down as one of the craziest years of all time. If you think about it, there have already been so many historical events happen this year — I can’t even remember all of them.”
Forbush encouraged the class one last time to always chase their dreams, while also taking their “Timberwolf pride” and leading their pack “in a positive direction, wherever that path may be.”
“It’s OK if those plans have to be adjusted along the way, as long as they continue to lead you on to your best life. This day is about you and your success. Hold up your head and make the best impression on the world — in your family, your education, the workplace, the military or any other situation,” she said.
Of the 245 students in SVHS’s graduating class, 46 earned a Very High Honors designation, 40 were High Honors and 55 graduated with Honors. In addition, 133 students were recognized as career and technical education (CTE) course completers.