Valley High School holds graduation ceremony

Published 7:17 am Wednesday, May 26, 2021

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After having to break up last year’s ceremony into four parts due to statewide guidelines, Valley High School graduated its 165-student class of 2021 on the field at Ram Stadium at one time. 

In order to spread out the families, Valley had both sides of Ram Stadium open to the public. In order to give families the opportunity to get a picture of their student as they walked in, the senior class did a lap around the field along the track before proceeding down the center of the field to their spaced-out seats.

“It’s been a long 13 years hasn’t it, but you made it through a pandemic,” Valley principal Dr. Sherry Ashe said to start the graduation. “Tonight is indeed a night to celebrate as you close this chapter in your lives and move on to the next. I want you to know that this celebration is all about you. Your family, teachers, counselors, friends and I are all extremely proud of you.”

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The 2021 Valley senior class earned $3.176 million in scholarships. Several students will continue their athletic careers after leaving high school, while others have received enough college credits to nearly be sophomores.

Class of 2021 No. 1 student Storm Lacy had the first speech of the night. Lacy spoke about looking forward to the future as the class celebrates the accomplishments of the past four years.

“It is our last day all together as a class. After our last first day, our last prom, our last class changes and our last frantic lunchroom talks,” No. 1 student Storm Lacy said. “After a year full of lasts, let’s talk about some of our firsts. [Tuesday] will be our first day as high school graduates. For some of us, fall brings us our first college classes, our first full-time jobs or our first life-changing opportunities … On our last day as high schoolers, it is difficult to gain perspective on all that we have ahead of us. We attach so much to our lasts, which will mean much less once we tell our stories of love to our firstborns or our first pets, or even our first real friends. The paths that we forged have been laid out upon the foundation of our experiences, and together, we have our first chances at truly walking them. Let us celebrate our lasts, but let us also celebrate our firsts.”

Miss VHS Kaitlyn Lewis and Mr. VHS Will Kennedy both gave speeches as well.

Lewis thanked the teachers for developing the students. She singled out former Valley High School teacher Mike Power, who died suddenly in January.

“Thank you to our teachers who have devoted these past few years to helping us to become the best version of ourselves and never giving up on us, no matter how many times we tested your patience,” Lewis said. “I would like to thank a certain teacher that has held an influence on all of us here. That person is coach Power, who we will forever love and represent through our actions to each other and to ourselves. Coach Power is the structure to who we want to become, and we are forever grateful to be able to grow with such a positive and wonderful influence.”

Kennedy spoke about using the lessons that each student has learned in their time at Valley to better themselves for the future.

No. 2 student Hunter Stanfield ended the graduation ceremony with a speech and a prayer.

Instead of forming a circle and tossing their hats into the air, the seniors stayed at their seats when lofting their caps, signaling the end of the ceremony.