Caps filled the night sky as VHS Class of 2020 took the next step in their lives.

VARDAMAN – The Vardaman High School Class of 2020 took the next step in their lives a few weeks later than expected, however, they did it together.

When the pandemic struck, schools were ultimately canceled for the remainder of the semester. This brought into question graduation, seeing as ceremonies are usually packed full of friends and family. Other area schools including Houston, Houlka and Okolona opted to hold graduation ceremonies on the week they were originally intended with one difference, students graduated in private ceremonies with only a limited number of guests.

That was not the case with Vardaman. They held off on their ceremony, hoping that things would change. Hoping that they could hold a somewhat normal graduation. For the most part that is what they did.

There were still some restrictions that reminded one they were in the midst of a pandemic, such as six guests per graduate, sitting in assigned seats by family, masks strongly advised and most notably, no pictures or grouping together on school property after the ceremony.

Students were even lined up six feet from one another to throw their caps in the air.

However, as the Class Salutatorian, ,Gavin Chrestman, said in his speech when he quoted Rocky Balboa.

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!”

The choice of this quote perfectly summed up the final days of his high school experience for him, he said. He said that though they were being hit right now, they would get back up and keep moving.

The Class Valedictorian, Sean Galloway, gave his speech, addressing his fellow graduates and the guests present.

“I am very excited to begin the next part of my life,” he said. “I am also sad to see this part be over.”

The following students received diplomas:

Bobbie Skylar Lashae Armstrong

Shakhodie Danyell Armstrong

Alyssa Carol Bright

Matthew Logan Bright

Peyton Smith Burks

Caroline Ruth Casey

Gavin Wayne Chrestman

Jonathan Taylor Chrestman

Matthew Cade Clark

Mackenzie Danielle Coleman

Jayln Glen Douglas

Addison Claire Earnest

Jackson Conner Edmondson

Tyler Chase Edmondson

Sean Scott Galloway and

Ismael Guadalupe Gonzalez

Alexis Uriel Gonzalez-Soto

Christopher Connor Graham

Diego Gutierrez

Makayla Rayne Harris

Cannon Cade Hendrix

Kayleigh Ann Hill

Hannah Marie Johnson

Ashly Brizaida Juarez-Gonzalez

Veronica Aisha Maldonado

Shaquita Denise McKinney

Kenyatta Latreece Mister

Nairah Ja'nae Moore

Jacqueline Murillo

Miguel Angel Murillo and

Jose Jonathan Pachecano

Ja Darius Key Juan Pratt

Zyecurious Kentrey Pratt

Autumn Benet Taylor

Jesus Anthony Torres

Jarod Grant Vanlandingham

Jacob Allen Watkins

Fantasia Chenelle Willis and

Sarah Margaret Wooten.

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