A senior class to remember

Meghan Flynn
The 51 members of the Class of 2020 sit in the grandstands, with social distancing, at Holcomb High School's football field Saturday morning during the commencement ceremony. The normal May graduation was cancelled due to restrictions with the COVID-19 pandemic. Family and friends attending the graduation brought lawn chairs and blankets for seating on the school's football field. This was the 101st commencement for HHS.

The uniqueness of the 2019-20 school year with the COVID-19 pandemic was remarked on numerous times throughout Holcomb High School’s graduation ceremony Saturday.

Traditionally, the school’s commencement is held in the HHS gym, but with the pandemic and the need for social distancing, this year’s ceremony was held at the school’s football field.

While the loss of in-person classes, spring sports and prom were touched on by all speakers, they also mentioned perseverance and taking the experience and using it to guide them in life.

Valedictorian Gracelyn Rupp said that current state of the nation helped the class of 2020 realize that they cannot control everything, but they can control their mindset and how they face obstacles.

The situation has taught the class how to react to future bumps in the road, Rupp said.

“We have learned that nothing is promised and we have seen that plans often change,” she said. “I believe that the class of 2020 possesses special qualities that will allow us to push through future difficulties with pride and tenacity. When we hit a wall we will stand back up ready to face the next challenge that life decides to throw our way.”

Salutatorian Lauren Jones agreed.

“This crazy time has been the ultimate test to prove who we are and what we're made of and these last few months have only clarified that we are resilient, that we can persevere and that we can push through any challenge that comes into our path,” she said.

The past and experiences is what makes someone stronger, Jones said.

“Our past is what makes us strong, our past is what makes us grow and our past is what makes us who we are,” she said.

Rupp encouraged the graduating class the live by two words which have been important in her life “be present.”

While the class should remember the past, they shouldn’t live in it because it can’t be changed, Rupp said. Don’t stress about the future because it can’t be controlled, focus on the here and now.

“Time goes by in the blink of an eye,” she said. “No matter what road you take of what setbacks may appear in front of you, continue to face adversity with courage and self-confidence and remember to be present and enjoy every moment.”

Gracelyn Rupp, right, delivers her valedictorian address Saturday morning at Holcomb High School's commencement as Lauren Jones, the Class of 2020's salutatorian, listens to the speech. {BRAD NADING/GARDEN CITY TELEGRAM}