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Moving On

The Inter-Mountain photos by Brooke Binns Gabryele Bedford, receives her high school diploma Friday evening during the Elkins High School graduation ceremony. Bedford, as well as all of her classmates, took part in a socially distanced ceremony, where each student picked up their own diploma from a table, rather than receiving it from school administration, as done traditionally.

ELKINS — Elkins High School’s graduating class filled the stands of Wimer Stadium –spaced six feet apart — one last time as the class of 2020.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the EHS graduation was postponed and relocated from its original schedule. Despite restrictions, EHS administrators worked together with county officials to hold a gradation ceremony at Wimer Stadium, where families gathered, spaced distantly from others on the field.

Sofia Triplett, class valedictorian, said growing up in Elkins helped to shape she and her classmates.

“In my experience, with friends in larger cities from around the state, I’ve realized that, here in Elkins, we have to work harder and reach higher to compete with students from larger and wealthier areas — in terms of academics, athletics, facilities and career opportunities,” she said. “But, you know what? Working harder, reaching higher and making do with what we have has helped each and every one of us to develop a better work ethic and has made us stronger.”

Triplett went on to say one lesson her grandfather has taught her is, ‘it takes a village to raise a child.”

Sofia Triplett, valedictorian for Elkins High School’s class of 2020, delivers a farewell speech to her classmates at Wimer Stadium.

“This period of reflection has helped m

e realize how this village has impacted me and all of my classmates,” she said. “When I talk about our community, I mean our parents and family; my close friends and their families; our teachers, coaches and administrators — who are genuinely concerned about our development; our community volunteers who work to make our town a better place; our bosses who gives us work experience; our care providers who keep us healthy; our law enforcement officers who risk their loves to keep us safe – and also stop me when I’m driving too fast; and our community leaders who make Elkins a prosperous place to live. It is easy to take this support for granted.”

Allison Dolly, class salutatorian, was not present for the ceremony but recorded her speech to be listened to by classmates and guests. Dolly emphasized knowledge is not necessarily measured by academic success.

“Each and every one of us has faced obstacles that we have had to learn how to overcome. We dealt and moved forward, and that’s what matters,” she said. “You all have achieved incredible feats in your years leading up to this moment, both in school and out of school, and this all deserves recognition. Many have gone through high school with the stereotypical belief that knowledge is measured solely on academics, so to speak, but there is more to it than that. Our knowledge is not limited to traditional education, and I am here to say that there is amazing talent and intelligence present today beyond the top 10 percent of the class.”

While many students took part in the outdoor ceremony Friday evening, others chose to receive their diplomas in a smaller ceremony with family and friends. As an alternative for students who wished to receive their diplomas early, schools held small ceremonies where students and their families were invited to their home schools to “walk across the stage.” Superintendent of Randolph County Schools Debbie Schmidlen previously explained students were invited to wear their caps and gowns during a small ceremony where they were given a photo opportunity with their families.

EHS class of 2020 graduates include the following students: Sofia Frances Triplett, Allison Paige Dolly, Presley Shae Bates, Shelby Lynn Broseker, Rachel Olivia Crawford, Erin Nicole Dettinger, Antony Dong, Avery Edward Evick, Mackenzie Faith Holland, Madison Frances Holland, Elijah D. Jones, Isabella Marie Karlen, Taylor Delain McKinnie, Taylor Brooke Morral, Taylor Sage Oldaker, Liam Ezekiel Purkey, Alyssa Nicole Severino, Cindy Zhu, Sierra Nicole Adamson, Faith Winter Arbogast, Sean Albert Arbogast, Hannah Lane Bailey, Julia Cathriona Baldwin, Eli Davis Ballantyne, Stephen Michael Barnheart, Zachary Morgan Barrickman, Emily Paige Bedford, Gabryele Ashlyn Bedford, Nathaniel Todd Bennett, Bailey Morgan Bishop, Jayson Chadwick Blaha, Mikayla Mae Blosser, Gary Ray Bonnell III, Morgan Beth Bowers, Blake Carlos Brickles, Bethany Marie Brown, Joshua James Callahan, Tori Lynn Canfield, Cassandra Rae Carman, Nicholas Michael Casey, Summer Hope Channell, Joshua Thomas Channels, Alex James Chestna, Tyler Mark Chewning, Laylie May Clary, Hannah Jade Cobb, Ryan Kenneth Coffman, Hannah Hope Collins, Logan Carl Comer, Lillian Nicole Corley, Kyleigh Faith Crim, Alexanderia Michelle Cutright, Heidi Leanne Daniels, Brayden Maddix Davis, Hanna Mykle Davis, Jonathan Tyler Davis, Tyler Nathaniel Dawson, Christopher Ray Deuesenberry, Karli Marie Elswick, Samuel Paul Emery, Kenna Nicole Ferguson, Devan Alec Fletcher, Dylan Michael Ford, Talitha Dawn Fortney, Cherish Divine Furr, Zackery Brian Gates, Hannah Ivy-Elizabeth Gerlach, Benjamin Joseph Gongola, Gabriel Thomas Guire, Austin Damian Hamrick, Thomas Michael Hanna, Alexis Breanne Hare, Easton Frank Harman, Blake Michael Harris, Allyson Elizabeth Haynes, Karissa Dawn Hebb, Daniel Leonard Hempel, Rachael Nichole Henry, Cheyenne Paige Hensley, Jarrod Thomas Hickman, Holden Lewis Hinchman, Jeffery Austin Hinchman, Christopher Charles Hitt, Abagail, Nicole Howell, Michael Ryan Howels, Caitlyn Marie Hutchison, Cole David Iamurri, Aaliyah Paige Isner, Alainah Summer Johnson, Matthew Joseph Johnston, Anthony Connor Jones, Lane Garrett Kalar, Abbigale Lee Kaposy, Alicia Renee Kelley, Domanick Braydon Kennard, Mason John Kimbleton, Jesse Glen King, Devan Parker LeMarne, Contessa Leann Leary, Katelyn Rose Leary, Jacky Cage Lemons, Andrew Aaron Link, Preston Anthony Lipscomb, Zander Shaid Lloyd, Noahthea Mae Love, Ezra Gabriel Lowers, Elizabeth Jane Lynch, Brooklynn Cheyenne Mahanes, William Robert Mahley, Autumn Danee Mallow, Luke Wyatt Mallow, Gavin Luke Marks, William Alfred Marks, Devan Lee Martin, Hallie McKenna Martin, Jocelyn Marie Martin, Tiaeaigra Lyric Mathews, Haley Brooke McCauley, David Jessiah McCoy, Emilee Renea Mearns, Steven David Logan Merica, Christian Adam Merritt, Jared Michael Mick, Logan Hunter Miller, Alec Miller, Zachary Uriah Miller, Jordan Lee Mullenex, Michelle Alexandra Marie Murphy, Makell Joseph O’Brien, Michael Thomas O’Neill, DeAndre Antonio Owens, Kaylynn Alexis Owens, Bristol Karston Petrice, Elizabeth Jane Phares, Noah Robert Phillips, Lydia Kathryn Plishka, Jakob Joshua Eddie Plumley, Emma Elizabeth Post, Samantha Joellen Price, Brooke Ashleigh Pritt, Sarah Elizabeth Rager, Gabriel Logan Ray, Cory Andrew Reed, Trillian Marie Reed, Jessica Dawn Rexrode, Marla S. Roberts, Katlin Marie Robinson, Madison Kate Roy, Keaton Blake Salisbury, Alexandor James Salyer, Justin James Sawyer, Lilee Nevada Schoonover, Isaiah Connor Shiflett, Caleb Joseph Shipley, Sara Elizabeth Shoemaker, Hailey Jade Shrader, Richard Harrison Shryock, Isaiah Amin Cole Shumate, Donald Earl Singleton Jr., Remington Lee Stanley, Dalton Lee Staten, Jermaine Joseph Swiger, Abigail, Leanne Taylor, Jacob Grayson Tharp, Bailey Madison Tracy Nicholas Lee Vandevender, Julia Faith VanPelt, Jacob Christopher Vigh, Hunter Lee Ware, Haley Brook Warner, Garrett Michael Lane Wegman, Griffen N. Westerfeld, Isabella Nicole White, Justin Harrison White, Marcus Bryant White, Taylor Renee Williams, Tiffany Amber Wills, Harmony Mary Margaret Wilson, Whitney Jade Wilson, Isaac Edward Winans, Macy Corinne Wiseman, Dennard Demetrius Wyche, Destiny Faith Yeager, Haylie Jaye Young, Dillon Cole Yrizarry and Kayla May Zimmerman.

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