“We are a strong class,” Daleville High School Senior Class President Melvin Mathews told those attending the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 Friday, May 22.
Held in the DHS Warhawk Stadium with families, friends and guests seated in the stands the mandated “social distancing” six feet apart, the graduation ceremony was held in as traditional manner as possible in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic-created quarantine.
The high school band did not play and the JROTC did not post the colors. Except for the solo rendition of the Alma Mater by Senior Class Vice President Alyssa Straw, all the music was prerecorded. After the ceremony, no one was permitted on the field to congratulate the 62 graduates who were escorted back to the high school gym.
The DHS Class of 2020 graduates have earned some $767,000 in scholarships, said DHS Principal Joshua Roberts. “The achievements of this class are the result of a dedicated effort by our students, faculty and parents and it has been my pleasure to serve as their principal.”
“We are a strong class. We entered this world in a time of panic that was called 911,” Mathews said in his welcome address. “We gather tonight as graduates stepping out in another time of panic called the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We could not do the things that the seniors who came before us have done,” Mathews said, noting that with the state-mandated shutdown of schools as the pandemic escalated the senior class did not have the opportunity to participate in traditional senior class activities, to include a prom.
“With this pandemic, everything was ripped away from us and we had no other choice but to accept that our high school days, our friendships and fun times are all gone now,” he said. “But we are a strong class. There is so much potential and humility in each of these people.
“Even though so much was taken away from us we have gained so much more. We always stick together,” Mathews said. “When it came down to it, we all came together as a family and supported one another.
“The quarantine has given us time to slow down and appreciate the people who basically raised us outside of our homes,” he said, thanking the educators and administration for the “life lessons and book lessons. “So here we are, the Class of 2020 having been born in the tragic times of 911 stepping out boldly in the uncertain times of COVID,” he said. “We are about to grow up and live lives that leads us to who knows what, where or how far.
“First and foremost I would like to thank our Lord and Savior for waking us all up this morning,” Mathews said. “Without him we would not be here.”