Students at Scurry-Rosser High School were at last able to formally graduate from the class of 2020 on June 4, in a somewhat unorthodox ceremony held at the school’s Wildcat Stadium.

“The COVID-19 pandemic could not stop the determination or spirit of Scurry-Rosser ISD, our students, and our wonderful community,” Principal Adan Casas told the graduates as they sat six feet apart from each other on the stadium bleachers.

The ceremony was available to view from home, via a livestream hosted on Facebook by Scurry-Rosser HS. It was a unique sight, with a blue sky serving as the background, growing softer as the sun set on the stadium.

Dr. Jerry King, President of Trinity Valley Community College, gave special recognition to Marleigh Stephens, Alexis Barnes, and Caryn Weaver; students who completed college accredited courses which earned them an associate of arts degree. King acknowledged all three students as they walked across the stage to receive their diploma from TVCC, saying “We’re very proud of you, we’re very proud of what you’ve done, and you’ve worked hard to get there.”

Salutatorian William Keever expressed how the struggles presented by this year’s pandemic taught him to appreciate educators.

“I’m sure as parents you never imagined you’d have to risk your own life to attend your child’s high school graduation, but here we are,” Keever said. “Throughout this pandemic I've realized how we as Americans have developed a sense of entitlement towards our public education, and I'm so thankful for my 12½ years of uninterrupted education that I woke up to everyday, and expected. It wasn’t until I had that experience taken away from me that I was able to fully grasp just how grateful I needed to be towards my teachers and educational privilege.” His speech continued, thanking his teachers and family for the roles they played during his years of schooling.

“What matters is all of the time we did get to spend together: the days where we weren’t six feet apart, the days where we could all be in the same gymnasium, days where we could actually see each other's smiles and hear each other's laughs. We can’t forget all of the times we had together throughout this journey just because it was cut a little short.”

During his speech, Valedictorian Rian Wiggins said, “Almost all of the most influential people in my life, at this point, I've met in some way or another because I came to Scurry. The people that I’ve met here aren't just my friends; they are my family.” Wiggins briefly spoke about his experiences at SRHS, and the bonds that developed between him and his peers as they spent years of schooling together. He closed his speech with a quote from Tupac Shakur: “During your life, never stop dreaming. No one can take away your dreams.”

With the sun now completely set, the stadium lights illuminated the graduates as they waited patiently to cross the stage. Upon completion, music and fireworks filled the air of Wildcat Stadium’s football field, as friends, family, and students all cheered in celebration.

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