The Laurel Senior High 2020 graduation took place last Thursday, and although the final months of Bulldog seniors were stolen, the night resonated with hope. Principal Dave Hudson exclaimed, “Doesn’t it feel great to be here together as a Bulldog family. None of us knew for sure how or when this would happen but it is great to be here with all of you.”
The top 10 senior academic leaders were honored beginning with the class valedictorian Andrew Ellison and salutatorian Lauren Holladay. Also honored were Destiny White, Leah Miller, Caela Grim, Colin Larrimore, Joshua Bell, Skyler Smith, Patrick Brewer, and Staci Birney.
Ellison, who graduates with a cumulative GPA of 4.4083 spoke to his classmates. “Sometimes life happens and we must adapt. It is the end of an era and many of us have been in this district since we were five years old,” said Ellison.
Ellison shared a common sentiment, “It went by in a blink of an eye and now is the time to look ahead to the future and go for it. Live your life your way and at the end of the day have no regrets. I sincerely wish everyone the best of luck in the future.”
Senior salutatorian Lauren Holladay addressed the class. “Today we celebrate the success, prosperity and perseverance that we tried to achieve throughout our high school journey. We missed out on a lot but it does not define who we are, it doesn’t change our accomplishments, undermine 12 years of success, it doesn’t change our future plans. It taught us to be optimistic and hope for the best,” she said.
Holladay, who graduates with a cumulative GPA of 4.3664, said, “We now go our separate ways and best of luck in your future. I believe that everyone here has what it takes to accomplish their goals.”
Superintendent Dr. Shawn Larrimore provided the class with encouragement and wisdom. “In the fall you entered your final year and by March a conflict stared you down, then hope was lost, but your story is not over yet. There is more written for you.”
Larrimore told the class their story has a sequel. “I implore you class 2020 please become the heroes this world needs and have the courage to put one foot in front of the other. Have wisdom to see the lesson learned. I promise you what was meant for your harm will serve as your harmony, what was meant for your destruction will serve as your instruction, and I promise you if you believe in the power of the sequel and what was meant for your defeat will serve as your victory,” he said.
Hudson shared his pain felt for their experiences lost, but implored the class to grow out of the experience. “We had many new things this year…then came the second week of March and everything became new. I know you struggled and everyone missed something different and the one thing that all of you missed was that last time that you would get up in morning and going to school together and knowing it was your last day together. It breaks my heart knowing you lost that moment.”
Hudson called on the class to rise above, “You will never regret doing your best and failing, my hope is that you live your life with as little regret as possible. Look for and take the opportunity to make the world a better place. Stand up for people who struggle to stand up for themselves. Invest your time and energy into people you love, give of yourself to make people feel valued and appreciated. You are now at a new horizon and newness in your life.”
Class advisors Mr. Tasker and Mr. Bryan were acknowledged for the dedication to the Class of 2020. Also acknowledged were Assistant Principal Rhiannon O’Neal, School Board President Linda Hitchens and Sabrina Taylor Isler, Vice President.
The 127 graduating seniors were presented with their diplomas by Larrimore and at the conclusion the class tossed their mortarboards into the air in final celebratory moment as their family and friends cheered in relief, happiness, and joy of finally being able to share the once in a lifetime moment.