With two state championships under their belts, members of the Crandall High School class of 2020 pledged to continue their winning ways as they graduated on Friday night.

The state championships were in theater during the class's sophomore year, and this fall, when the cheerleading squad won the 5A state spirit championship.

The graduates also were offered a total of $2 million in 250 scholarships.

Due to social distancing measures required by the state of Texas, Crandall’s ceremony was held outside at Mesquite Memorial Stadium, with graduates spaced out six feet apart on the football field.

At the start of the June 5 ceremony, graduates joining the U.S. Armed Forces stood in Pirate Stadium as the crowd applauded. The top 10% of the class also was honored.

During the pledge of allegiance, most of the graduates stood with their hands over their hearts, while some remained seated or kneeled in protest.

Two salutatorians addressed the crowd.

The class of 2020 has had an experience “that not many people sign up for,” said Adetutu Bodede, acknowledging the Covid-19 virus that interrupted the class’s senior year. The silver lining, she said, “is that challenges contribute to the growth of our character.”

The interruption was tougher on some students than others, said Molly Joyner, the other class salutatorian. The two share a 4.47 grade point average.

“I’m not a big fan of change,” Joyner said. While their year ended in a whirlwind of online classes, “we made it work.” Joyner noted that she is graduating with many friends she made when she was a student at Crandall’s only elementary school, and now the district has five.

Conner Hill, the class valedictorian, noted the seniors rose to the challenges this spring with resilience, grace and courage.

He thanked his coaches and teachers, along with his family and friends, for helping him and his classmates finish their final year of high school.

Principal Jeannia Dykman said she regrets that she couldn’t shake the hands of the graduates as they crossed the stage, but added the school could not be any prouder of its seniors.

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