Saturday wasn’t your normal high school graduation day.
Then again, the past few months have been far from “normal.”
But in Fayette County, seniors departing Meadow Bridge, Midland Trail and Oak Hill high schools finally got to gather to put the finishing touches on a topsy-turvy senior year that was marred by the Covid-19 pandemic, which sent them out of their classrooms in March not to return.
While the seniors had received their diplomas earlier, they were given the opportunity walk across the stage in front of friends and family to cap their secondary school careers. It was a day that included a helping of hot weather, some last-minute graduation practice, and fist bumps, elbow bumps and, yes, hugs.
The students appreciated the day, too.
“Our class missed many milestones, so thanks for this graduation,” said McKayla Kirk, one of the summa cum laude graduates at Midland Trail High School on Saturday afternoon.
Betty Watson, who delivered the magna cum laude address at Meadow Bridge High School’s graduation event Saturday morning, said she and her classmates had a difficult spring as the Covid-19 pandemic sent them home, but it was a learning experience in more ways than one.
“It was very disappointing not getting to go to prom and spend the spring on the field with my softball friends,” Watson said. “But I learned not to take things for granted, and I learned a lot of basic life skills and I learned just to appreciate everything.”
Another item she added to her base of knowledge?
“I’ve learned that germs are a bigger problem than I thought,” Watson said. “So I probably will be wearing a mask, even through flu season.”
Watson said she has paid extra attention to undertaking safety measures that would help protect more susceptible family members and friends.
“I was worried for my family and for my friends that don’t have very good immune systems,” said Watson, who will attend Marshall University to pursue a nursing degree. “For myself, I was worried just a little bit.”
Oak Hill High graduate Seth Crosier, who’s headed to WVU Tech to seek a business management degree, joined his fellow members of the OHHS Class of 2020 in celebrating their graduation Saturday evening.
“It’s definitely been different,” Crosier said before the event began. The students had to get accustomed to “going with the flow, ... what happens, what happens really,” he said. “I feel like I can say I had a full year; I learned a lot.”
Disappointments included “not having a prom, not having a true, real graduation, (missing) the move-up ceremony (and) the things we looked forward to as freshmen after seeing the seniors do it, and not getting to participate in that was kind of disappointing. And also sports.”
What is his takeaway from the past few months? “Anything can change in a blink of an eye. You have to be ready for the change, be flexible with your plans and how you go about life.”
Crosier said he “learned a lot about how to adapt to the world around you, because we’d never seen anything about how to quarantine and wear masks everywhere. You learned to get used to things you’re not used to.”
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