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Goreville holds graduation ceremony for class of 2020

Ceremony held in parking lot due to social distancing requirements

The final year of school for the seniors of Goreville High School was turbulent to say the least, so it was really no surprise at all when a series of pop up rainstorms blew thru, and the much delayed and modified high school graduation ceremony was nearly cancelled again Saturday night.  But, much like the very senior students it was meant to highlight and celebrate, the graduation ceremony was not to be stopped, as community members and school officials banded together and reset the outside venue up, not once, not twice but three times in a matter of a couple of hours. 

The ceremony was set up to meet all the current social distancing requirements on the Goreville High School Parking lot.    The graduating seniors were ushered to their chairs by the Junior Class Marshalls, Katie Benard, Emma Vaughn, Chloe Wollard and Alexis Steinschulz.  The traditional senior prayer was offered by Cameron Sullivan.  Class President, Tyler Johnson, was the next scheduled speaker, but due to illness had to miss this event.  Andrew Manier delivered the speech prepared by Johnson, apologizing for his absence, and reminding all to take the Coronavirus precautions seriously.  

Luke Brown delivered the Salutatorian address, which was followed by the Valedictorian address, by Payton Sopczak.  Both Brown and Sopczak thanked friends, family and community for their years and experiences in the Goreville School System.

Multiple students were announced to have been receiving scholarships.  Two students are joining the Armed Services, Kiara Miller and Jacob Cox. Miller leaves for basic training June 21, 2020, Cox is bound for the Air Force later this year.

Retiring teacher Charlotte Leal was recognized for years of service and as her name was announced the students rose to a standing ovation.  

An annual tradition of Goreville High School graduation is the announcement of the Shining Star award.   This award recognizes a student who reflects the spirit of Goreville school system, with positivity, character and kindness.  The student who is named as the Shining Star then selects one school faculty member as their Shining Star award winner, for being the one who most helped them with any issue that might have arisen.  Goreville‚Äôs Shining Star recipients were student Abagail Schuhardt and faculty member Trecca McConnell.  

In a surprise announcement, senior class sponsor Joyce Maze told the crowd that each senior in the graduating class would be receiving an award of $400 each to use toward their employment or education.  These funds were generated throughout the four class years by these students selling concessions and hosting fundraisers for the purpose of paying for class events such as dances and their senior trip, cancelled due to the current pandemic.

Each student was then called to the stage, picking up their diplomas on a table in the middle of the stage.   On the big screen behind, was a slideshow of each student, as they stood on stage holding their diploma.

Dr. Steve Webb then addressed the students, congratulating them on their success, and declared their successful graduation from Goreville High School.  

Goreville Class of 2020
Back Row, Left to right: Zachary Orr, Landon Albright, Trent Glidewell, Boston Thompson, Kameron Sullivan Row 5: Zach Holland, Jacob Cox Brooklyn Eastman, Nick Compton, Tristan Hale, Dustin Hutman Row 4: Parker Merrell, , Andrew Manier, Jackson McCree, Joe Wilcox, Dakota Poole Row 3: Hallie Martin, Colin Whitehead, Taylor Cross, Logan Hankins, Cameron Hines, Piper Roberts 2: Lucas Cloud, Ariel Quigley, Kylie Finney, Morgan Dunning, Kelsey Ray, Samantha Licka, Isabella Timms Front Row: Gavin Clark, Luke Brown, Payton Sopczak, , Kiara Miller, Abagail Schuhardt, Adrianna Licka

The Class of 2020 featured many honors, regional championships, sectional championships, supersectional  championships, state titles, a national championship, competition titles, testing awards,  and state degrees.   One can only be left to wonder what they could have accomplished if they had been allowed to finish.  But maybe, we really do not have to wonder at all, after all, we know they are all Blackcats, and they are all winners.  We here in our community cannot wait to see the world that they use their vast abilities and talents to improve and change, all for the better.

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