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Spain Park graduates honored at outdoor commencement

HOOVER – The members of the Spain Park High School Class of 2020 might not have finished their senior year with the usual activities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they were not denied the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments at a live ceremony.

Students and a limited number of their guests gathered at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium on Wednesday, May 20 for an outdoor ceremony that, despite its social distancing constraints, held the same amount of excitement as a normal ceremony.

“Thank you all for coming alongside of us and making it possible to have our graduation ceremony here,” SPHS Principal Larry Giangrosso said, after acknowledging the Hoover City Schools staff, Board of Education members, Hoover city officials and Met staff in attendance. “I know it’s not the SEC Tournament that we were all looking forward to, but you will never have a group of people more appreciative of being in this stadium than you do tonight. But again, most importantly, thank you for believing in the Class of 2020.”

Valedictorian Abby Reed praised her classmates for taking the challenges the pandemic has presented in stride.

“We will not forget all the memorable events and fun times we shared despite these past few months that have been taken from us due to COVID-19,” Reed said. “No one thought our senior year would have to end like this, but if anyone can rise to the occasion, it is the Class of 2020.”

Valedictorian Jessica Jacob described the in-person graduation ceremony as the closure the seniors deserved and thanked everyone who had a hand in bringing it to fruition.

“I really think this experience has only made our time at Spain Park more valuable,” Jacob said. “This has played such a huge part in our stories. Through everything, we’ve stayed together and handled the adversity as a team and as a family. To the Class of 2020, we are talented, hardworking and resilient. I wish you nothing but the best for the rest of your lives.”

Senior Class President Kamron Beckham urged his classmates to be grateful for the important people in their lives and to strive to do what is right.

“We must continue to improve ourselves, improve our community and cherish the time we have with our loved ones,” Beckham said. “We will get to be the few parents and grandparents with the unorthodox story of our senior year, and to me, that is something special.”

National Honor Society President Marcus Mudano congratulated the members of the Class of 2020 on graduating and wished them well in their next steps.

“Now, we are presented with the chance for a fresh start, a clean slate,” Mudano said. “Do not throw away this opportunity. Figure out what your goals are for the rest of your life.”

Of Spain Park’s nearly 400 graduates, 19 were valedictorians, 66 were honor graduates and 22 percent carried a 4.0 GPA or better.

Students were offered admission into 141 colleges in more than 33 states.

They were offered $19.2 million in scholarships and will be accepting nearly $10 million of those scholarships.

Sixty-seven percent of the class received some type of scholarship to the institution of their choice.

The Class of 2020 has had more students commit to serve in the armed forces than any class in recent SPHS history.

Among the students are two National Hispanic Recognition Scholars, three National Merit Commended Scholars, one National Merit Semifinalist, three National Merit Finalists, three National Merit Scholars and one U.S. Presidential Scholars candidate.

“Class of 2020, congratulations to each of you for reaching this milestone in your educational journey,” Giangrosso said. “Thank you and best wishes. May God bless you, and may God bless the Spain Park Jags.”

Visit ShelbyCountyPhotos.com to view and purchase photos from the event.

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