In these unique times, schools are looking to have students still graduate in the best way possible. Woodbridge High School is doing just this by holding a virtual graduation. In doing so the school will give each student a unique way to remember their 2020 graduation.
“We are trying to make sure these seniors get a chance to graduate in the best way possible” said Kelley Thompson, Principal of Woodbridge High School. “Even though they did not graduate together, this video will be the next best option.”
Shown (l to r) are the Woodbridge High School’s top 10 students: Gabriella Morra, Senior Class President; Rimmon Shoukat, Rynasia Cannon, Ronica Emmanuel, Regan Todd, Valedictorian; Xavier Hayes, Alastornia Swift, Salutatorian; Kasey Tull, Mackenna Kerrick, and Macey Bautista. Photos by Scott Bleile
WHS is having each student walk across the stage to receive their diploma from either Superintendent Heath Chasanov or two family members. They brought in 10 students who received their gown, answered a survey for the school and then walked across the stage.
“I believe our two-day graduation ceremony went really well. Each senior was given individual attention with our staff and most importantly, their guests. The guests of each senior had the option to give the diploma to their senior and many took advantage of this. We had a photographer who was able to take pictures of each senior and their guests. We recorded both days and this footage will be used to create our virtual ceremony video. There will be many personal touches in the video including the guests who attended and the traditional speeches of graduation. Our virtual ceremony will be live on June 19 at 6 p.m. and will be available on our school website www.whsraiders.net,” Thompson said.
Woodbridge graduated 156 seniors this year. The valedictorian is Regan Todd, the salutatorian is Alastornia Swift and the Senior Class President is Gabriella Morra. Each was filmed as they gave their speech.
Todd said in her speech, “2020 is a graduation unlike any other. While this certainly is not how anyone expected our commencement to be, I believe I speak for the majority when I say it is a moment of gratitude that we are able to celebrate the completion of our high school years.
“To the class of 2020: my greatest thanks go to you. Even though we were not able to have the senior year we spent 12 laborious years waiting for, it is best to cherish the good times we did have. I’ll never forget the energy from school dances, field trips, and even AP Biology. High school has been full of good memories, but don’t just take it from me: take it from Alexis Durham, who will always remember the laughs in independent study. Take it from Macey Bautista, who reminisces on watching our football team win the state championship, and Christopher Mathis, who is excited to see the people he has known forever grow and succeed. It is undeniable that the class of 2020 has had a high school experience for the books with a list of athletic and academic achievements too long to include in this speech. I am proud to be a member of this excellent group of students.”
Todd continued, “My pride reaches farther than just the class, though. I am also proud to be a student of the Woodbridge School District. On top of the trials of adjusting to life during a global health pandemic, the district has faced many losses. As difficult as these times have been for us, the Woodbridge community has shown great strength and resilience. The demonstration of support from the community for the families and loved ones of those whom we lost has been overwhelmingly sincere. Moments such as these are defining in the course of our lives. Struggles will only make us stronger, allowing us to emerge from the darkness as rays of light, brilliant and prepared to conquer all that we face.”
Swift spoke about her times growing up in the Woodbridge School System. “I would like to thank everyone at Woodbridge for giving me the best high school experience. This district holds so much of my childhood and has watched me grow. During these hard times teachers, parents, and students have come together to make the most of the time we have. One memory that has recently resurfaced for me is the end of our fourth-grade year. We held a graduation ceremony and the class sang ‘I Believe I Can Fly’. This was to prepare us for middle school, to celebrate us moving on with our school careers. Aside from this my class voted for superlatives for the people in our class. In fourth grade I was voted most likely to become valedictorian. Now, at the age of 10 I most likely did not know what this word meant. The honor of valedictorian is rightfully claimed by my best friend, Regan Todd. Without her I would not have had the academic success I do.”
Swift looked back over her high school years, “This part of our lives is coming to a close faster than I ever imagined. It is not the ending I was expecting or wanted, but it is the end no matter what. We’ve all grown up together and have watched each other change and turn into who we are today. No matter where we go in life and how far away, we may go, we will always remember where we came from and who helped us to get where we need to be.”
The video will be available live on June 19 starting at 6 p.m. at www.whsraiders.net.