With the turn of a tassel, they were graduates.
Campbellsville High School Class of 2020 made history by graduating in individual private ceremonies on Monday, May 18.
The ceremonies were filmed and compiled into the school’s first-ever virtual ceremony.
Nearly 70 students received diplomas to mark the end of their high school careers.
This year’s valedictorian is Zoe McAninch.
Emily Rodgers is salutatorian.
CHS Principal Weston Jones told graduates that on March 13 at 1 p.m., as students dismissed for the day with folders filed with NTI work, no one imagined that day would be the last students walked the hallways.
Jones said, “As a class of young men and women who have accomplished so much in your short three and a half years, I know many of you were disheartened that your senior year was cut short due to the pandemic of COVID-19.
“The end to this school year may have looked different, but in every challenge or difficult time, you can take away a life lesson. The adage ‘never take anything for granted’ is often cliché, but, for your class, and many others in the world today, this adage is so fitting.”
Jones said students were robbed of memories they will never be able to get back.
“But, in the future, I hope this reminds you to cherish even the smallest memories that you will make,” he said. “Many people across the nation will refer to seniors in the Class of 2020 as the class that survived quarantine, but, to me, the staff at CHS and your family and friends that know you so well, your legacy is much different.”
Jones said he will remember the Class of 2020 as one with passion, school pride and a will to win.
“Whether it was earning industry certifications, recording the second highest composite ACT score in school history, capturing district and region titles in athletics, state competition winners in clubs, completing projects for class or battling it out against other grade levels during homecoming week, you competed for each other and your school, with integrity and class.”
Jones said the Class of 2020 has set the bar high for students who follow them.
“Not only have you been an example to the underclassmen, but you have taught me so many valuable lessons along the way as your principal, and for that I want to say thank you.
“Thank you for being encouraging, challenging, witty, dependable, energetic and compassionate students who wore the purple and gold proudly.”
As their final chapter of high school comes to an end, Jones said, he hopes graduates are eager to begin a new chapter with endless opportunities.
“Although this will be your chance for a fresh start, you will certainly face adversity along the way.
“I challenge you to take these five things with you as you embark on your new journey and they will make the road you’re about to travel down much easier to navigate.”
Jones said to not let pride stand in the way.
“You are going to make mistakes in life. Admit when you are wrong, learn from it and make it right.”
Common courtesy and manners will take students a long way, Jones said.
“Please, thank you, yes ma’am and yes sir and a good handshake are traits that can mean more to a person than you’ll ever know.”
Jones encouraged students to live a life that is within their means.
“You cannot purchase happiness through possessions or material things.”
Social media is not a platform to air out dirty laundry or bash people because they have different opinions and beliefs, Jones said.
“Don’t use it for either. Your actions cannot be hoarded or saved for later,” he said.
“Love like there is no tomorrow, because tomorrow isn’t promised. Give that friend or family member a hug and tell them you love them today.”
To this year’s seniors, Jones said, they should continue to be true to themselves in everything they do and know that CHS staff members will support them and continue to cheer them on in life.
“I will leave you with a scripture from Jeremiah 29:11,” he said. “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
“Best of luck and God bless.”
In her salutatory address, Rodgers said being in isolation the past few months has made her realize how important CHS is to her.
“How 13-ish years ago, I took my first steps into this building crying because I didn’t want to leave my family and now I am doing the same because I don’t want to leave my family here,” she said.
“Now, I can’t imagine going to class without you all. Going somewhere without the people who I’ve laughed and cried with.
“Without the people who whenever I was at my lowest points made me feel loved and welcomed.”
Rodgers said she can’t thank her classmates enough for all the memories from their high school years, from countless therapy sessions with Mrs. [Lauren] Bennett, to the MathXL usernames and password texts coming in at 11:40 p.m. for people needing ‘help.’”
Rogers said there is no class she would rather be part of a pandemic with than the CHS Class of 2020.
“We are the most exceptional class to ever pass through these halls,” she said, “and other classes can fight me on that.
“From the 15 plus GSP applications, a four-peat in homecoming, which definitely should have been more, going to state in football, to Top 15 percentile in national testing. We are exceptional.”
Rodgers said each member of the Class of 2020 has worked hard to get to where they are today.
“We all had those moments where we just wanted to quit and give up, but we made it here.
“And as you are about to watch the next part of the video, whatever it be, I wish you all the luck in the next chapter of your life and hope that you will continue to be exceptional.”
In her valedictory address, McAninch said she appreciates everyone who chooses to watch the virtual ceremony.
“I want to start by thanking you all, the Class of 2020, for being a part of these four years of high school and making memories that will last a lifetime.
“I want to thank CIS for giving me a family and home that I didn’t even know I needed. Lastly, I want to thank my family and friends for supporting me and giving me strength in everything I do. Without each and every one of you, I would not be standing here on your screen today.”
McAninch said it took 12 years to get to graduation, even though it might not be how she or her classmates pictured.
“However, in those 12 years, as you can see, the internet has really progressed, but more than that so have we,” she said. “We grew up, we sit here watching ourselves graduate as 17- and 18-year-olds ready to conquer the world, even if that means to stay six feet apart.”
In 2016, McAninch said, she and her classmates began high school as the class of overachievers.
“We were different people back then. So much happens over four years, we have all grown physically, mentally, socially. Some more than others.
“We were immediately hated, not for the fact that we were not your typical freshmen. We actually tried in school and sports and we gave our all in homecoming and the upperclassmen were jealous of our enthusiasm to win, even though we were cheated out of several homecomings.
“It was in these four years that we realized Mr. [Tyler] Hardy jumped on desks and Mrs. [Tammy] Wilson did not put up with stupidity, and how Mrs. [Dee] Doss admired it.
“We learned to never make Mrs. [Cheryl] Dicken mad and that Mrs. [Laruen] Bennett was just a little dramatic.
“We learned how to terrorize Mr. [Blake] Milby and that Mr. [Ben] Davis can be very vocal. We went through the civil war with Mrs. [Susan] Dabney and three different principals until Mr. Coach Principal [Weston] Jones finally stuck it out with us. We had to say goodbye to some of our favorite teachers, but that allowed us to say hello to new ones.”
McAninch said she and her classmates learned that there can never be too much school spirit.
“We learned that some friendships will come and go and that nothing can ever be perfect. We learned that despite all the work you put in, there might not always be a physical reward.”
McAninch said no one knew that the last day of school would be March 13, and, as weeks of no school turned into the end of the year, senior year slipped away.
“The say the best part of all 12 years of school is the last three months of senior year, and we were robbed of that,” she said.
McAninch said seniors were also lost their last spring sports season, their last prom and their last chance to say goodbye to one another before going separate ways.
“Graduating in the middle of a pandemic has taught us to be stronger and to cherish the memories we have made with the time we had together and to not take anything for granted,” she said. “You never appreciate the little moments until they are gone.”
Most importantly, McAninch said, through her high school years, she learned how to deal with change.
“Benjamin Franklin once said that change is the only constant in life. One’s ability to adapt to those changes will determine your success in your life.
“I want you all to go into this world and not fear change, but to embrace it and take charge of it.
“Our failures will sometimes outnumber our successes. However, we learn from our mistakes.
“Our mistakes are the guide that takes our successes to a new level and makes them so much better,” she said. “I believe that we were given the skills and knowledge to be able to take on the changes that life has in store for us. We just have to be willing to use it.”
McAninch said the Class of 2020 has made history as a class, but now it’s time for she and her classmates to make history individually.
“There were times I wondered if being valedictorian was worth it, but now I get the chance to be able to say a final goodbye to you all.
“So, goodbye and thank you, Class of 2020, and I will see you soon at our six-month class reunion in December.”
Campbellsville Independent Schools Superintendent Kirby Smith said that, although the ceremony wasn’t a traditional one, the day belongs to graduates.
“It is your graduation day and nothing can diminish the importance of today.
“Even though things have changed, life must go on, and you are not alone in experiencing a special event in a non-traditional way.”
Smith said he challenges students to not be bitter, but to be better.
“Don’t dwell on what you missed out on, look forward to what lies ahead,” he said.
“The years you have spent as an Eagle have no doubt been great, but trust me when I say this, the best years are still ahead of you.
“Class of 2020, there is no doubt you all will forever understand the phrase ‘don’t take things for granted,’ as the last nine weeks of your senior year was whisked away in the blink of an eye, but I bet you will also understand how to appreciate what you have.”
Smith said students should learn to control what is within their control.
“Don’t focus on things outside of your control – if you do, you are wasting time and energy.”
Students should learn to serve others, which will take the focus oneself.
“Love unconditionally. Show love and compassion to those whom you come in contact with,” he said.
“Seniors, congratulations, best of luck and God bless each of you.”
Lauryn Agathen led the invocation.
Campbellsville Board of Education Chair Pat Hall, Vice Chair Suzanne Wilson and Board members Barkley Taylor, Angie Johnson and Mitch Overstreet presented diplomas to graduates.
Class of 2020 class officers are as follows:
President – Alli Wilson.
Vice President – Gavin Johnson.
Secretary – Zoe McAninch.
Treasurer – Lauryn Agathen.
Historian – Cole Kidwell.
Senior sponsors are CHS Media Specialist Valerie Davis and Guidance Counselor Richard Dooley.
Class song is “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac.
Class colors are purple and gold.
And the class motto is “Y’all couldn’t wait to get rid of us.”
To view the graduation ceremony, click here.
For more photos from graduation, click here.
CHS staff members stage the arrival for the school’s first-ever virtual graduation.
CHS senior Lauryn Agathen receives a last minute adjustment from her mother, Kaye, as she prepares to graduate.
CHS staff members stage the arrival for the school’s first-ever virtual graduation.
CHS senior Blake Allen turns his tassel.
CHS senior Ashalique Adams turns her tassel.
CHS senior Nathan Anderson throws his cap.
CHS senior Ben Arachi turns his tassel.
CHS senior Ben Arachi smiles with his family, from left, his brother Nate, a sophomore, and parents Christine and Gamini Sooriya-Arachchi.
CHS senior Tyler Armstrong turns his tassel.
CHS senior Abie Angel throws her cap.
CHS senior Autumn Babbs turns her tassel.
CHS senior Taylor Brewer throws her cap.
CHS senior Taylor Brewer throws her cap.
CHS senior Savanna Brockman turns her tassel.
CHS senior Dalton Brown turns his tassel.
CHS senior Malachi Corley turns his tassel.
CHS senior Jewell Cox throws her cap.
CHS senior Jasmine Coro smiles for photos.
CHS senior Victoria Cox turns her tassel.
CHS senior Lathan Cubit poses for a photo with his stepfather Will Griffin, CHS assistant principal.
CHS senior Gavin Ford turns his tassel.
CHS senior Ethan Ford turns his tassel.
CHS senior Amaurie Deleon turns her tassel.
CHS senior Tahler Franklin smiles for a photo.
CHS senior Kelson Griffiths turns his tassel.
CHS senior Tyler Gribbins turns his tassel.
CHS senior Hannah Hall turns her tassel.
CHS senior Gracyne Hash smiles with her mother, Adrienne, who is an art teacher at Campbellsville Elementary School.
CHS senior Taliyah Hazelwood smiles with her son, Shae.
CHS senior Noah Hughes turns his tassel.
CHS senior Kaleigh Hunt turns her tassel.
CHS senior Shelby Hunt turns her tassel.
CHS senior Gavin Johnson smiles with his family.
CHS senior Aleah Knifley smiles with her father, Lyle.
CHS senior Cole Kidwell turns his tassel.
CHS senior Samantha Johnson throws her cap.
CHS senior Zoe McAninch turns her tassel.
CHS senior Taekwon McCoy throws his cap.
CHS senior Tristin Lopez turns his tassel.
CHS senior Michael Milburn turns his tassel.
CHS senior Katelyn Miller throws her cap.
CHS senior Brandy Miller tosses her cap.
CHS senior Ja’Kyia Mitchell tosses her cap.
CHS senior Haley Morris turns her tassel.
CHS senior Haleigh Murphy smiles as she tosses her cap.
CHS senior Isabella Osborne turns her tassel.
CHS senior Braydon Phillips turns his tassel.
CHS senior Siera Owens tosses her cap.
CHS senior Devon Reardon turns his tassel.
CHS senior Shallan Philpott smiles as she tosses her cap.
CHS senior Luke Richards tosses his cap.
CHS senior Mark Rigsby turns his tassel.
CHS senior Conner Riley tosses his cap.
CHS senior Grant Rinehart turns his tassel.
CHS senior Emily Rodgers tosses her cap.
CHS senior Jimmy Russell receives some help with his cap.
CHS senior Bryson Stargel turns his tassel.
CHS senior Shelby Smith turns her tassel.
CHS senior Ketayah Taylor tosses her cap.
CHS senior Bailey Thompson turns her tassel.
CHS senior Nevaeh Underwood turns her tassel.
CHS senior Mikael Vaught turns his tassel.
CHS senior Jade Tungate turns her tassel.
CHS senior Lathan Vincent tosses his cap.
CHS senior Patrick Walker turns his tassel.
CHS senior Brennon Wheeler turns his tassel.
CHS senior Dillon Whitaker throws his cap.
CHS senior Alli Wilson smiles with her diploma.
CHS senior Sydney Wilson tosses her cap.
CHS senior Billy Boley turns his tassel.
CHS senior Zach Shuffett tosses his cap.
CHS senior Zena Kessinger tosses her cap.
CHS senior Lauryn Agathen prays.
CHS senior Zoe McAninch delivers her valedictory address.
CHS senior Emily Rodgers delivers her salutatory address.
CHS Principal Weston Jones gives seniors some advice.
Campbellsville Independent Schools Superintendent Kirby Smith talks to graduates.