After not having been able to gather in school since before spring break, the Mid-Prairie High School class of 2020 were together one last time on Sunday to receive their diplomas.
Speakers acknowledged the challenges the class faced this spring as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Valedictorian Ingrid Gingerich spoke about the class’ tenacity.
“Over the years, we have learned to value our relationships with each other and to not take anything for granted,” Gingerich said. “Here we are in June instead of May, having been out of school since spring break, having sat through countless Zoom meetings. As it turns out, graduation is, in fact, not set in stone.
“Still, we have persevered, again showing that tenacity you have heard so much about.”
Superintendent Mark Schneider likened the class’ journey to a race, noting that they were receiving their diplomas on the school’s track.
“Watching track meets, I know sometimes the race doesn’t go as planned by the runner,” Schneider said. “Perhaps, it’s a slow start. Perhaps, a baton hand-off is messed up. Perhaps, a leg or foot hits a hurdle. Or worst of all, maybe the runner stumbles and falls.
“In all of those instances, it’s important for the runner to give his or her best effort to finish, shake it off afterwards, learn from what has happened and be prepared to run their best race the next time.”
He told the seniors that their elementary and secondary race is now at an end.
“There’s no doubt that through the years, and most especially this spring, you have experienced challenges, hardship, setbacks and even tragedy,” he said. “Take what you’ve learned from this race to become better prepared for the next one.”
Senior Brianna Ghum acknowledged that the class has faced challenges this year.
“This has not been the senior year we envisioned,” Ghumm said. “Life will always have obstacles, as we have already seen. Sometimes, we have to take a detour before we can reach our destination.”
Principal Jay Strickland reminded the class of the tragedy they faced at the end of last school year when their classmate Colton Allen died in a swimming accident.
“Colton was larger than life and was a great friend to many of us,” Strickland said. “We all share many great memories of Colton that make us smile every time we think of him.”