Ad Spot

Pelham holds graduation ceremony for Class of 2020

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

PELHAM – Despite the uncertainty and cancellations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pelham High School Class of 2020 was granted some relief when it walked across the stage clad in cap and gown to receive diplomas and celebrate achievements at the end of their high school journey.

With eased restrictions on public gatherings, the graduation ceremony was able to move forward at the Ned Bearden Stadium on the high school’s campus on Thursday, May 21. To ensure the safety of students and guests PHS implemented several measures including social distancing in the stadium and on the field.

PHS Principal Dr. Amanda Wilbanks began the ceremony by thanking school faculty, local officials, students and parents. She addressed the students she had come to know so well over the past years with some parting words of advice.

“What do you say to students who missed out on so many experiences this year,” began Wilbanks. “Move forward purposefully and do not dwell on the short hand you were dealt. Don’t be a victim of circumstances, life is full of hardships and unfortunately you learned that early.”

Valedictorian Erin Long had the privilege of speaking on behalf of the 221 graduates with a message focusing on persevering despite the great challenge that they faced.

“It is an honor to stand before you and say we made it,” Long said. “We are not an average class of high school students. In a time when tutoring sessions turned to Zoom calls and birthdays turned to drive by celebrations, we are the class that managed to graduate during a worldwide pandemic.”

Long went on to reflect on the past year and what was lost, but offered a message of optimism and hope for the future.

“I don’t think anyone would have guessed that March 13 would’ve been the last time we walked the halls of Pelham. I bet there are some things you would’ve done differently had you known that,” she said. “But we have made it out of the tunnel to the other side ready to take on the world and a new life.”

Salutatorian and Class President Carla Aleman acknowledged the challenges that the class faced but offered an optimistic view of their experience as a whole.

“I was going to say were really ending this year with a bang. Really, we started with a bang and ended with more than a boom,” Aleman said. “These past four years taught us persistence, these past four years taught us compassion, these past four years taught us to welcome our futures with open arms.”

The Class of 2020 featured 221 graduates, many who plan on going to college this fall. The graduates were collectively offered $4.2 million in athletic and academic scholarships

Though these students graduated in one of the most unprecedented times in recent history, there was nothing but optimism and celebration for what the graduates have accomplished and what lies ahead for them.

“Don’t let being a member of the Class of 2020 define you as being a victim of circumstance,” Wilbanks said. “Let this experience shape you into a better person.”

Photos available at Shelbycountyphotos.com.

Alabaster Main Story

Alabaster library gears up for summer program

Montevallo

UM names 2020-21 SGA cabinet

Alabaster Main Story

Marijuana, LSD, firearms seized in Alabaster raid

280 Reporter

Hoover Historical Society installs new officers

Alabaster Main Story

Church installs Little Free Pantry to help feed those in need

Columbiana

Columbiana businesses bounce back from closure

News

Sheriff’s Office will resume normal office operations on June 1

280 Reporter

Hoover announces city personnel changes

Alabaster Main Story

Birds & Burgers gives ‘hero bonuses,’ reduces prices during pandemic

Alabaster Main Story

Robbins nominated for Alabama Music Award

Coronavirus

‘A different Memorial Day:’ Group honors veterans in small ceremony, tribute video

Montevallo

Council approves Dollar General site plan on Alabama 119

Coronavirus

American Village cancels Fourth of July event over COVID-19 concerns

News

Troop 404 honors veterans with Memorial Day service

Columbiana

Shelby County’s Pennington gaining recognition

280 Main Story

UPDATE: County sees slight surge in COVID-19 cases in last 24 hours

News

Meet Pelham PD’s new K-9 member, Thunder

Alabaster Main Story

Miss Junior Teen U.S. plans Vision 2020 prom

Coronavirus

HES sends students into summer with ‘Hip, Hip, Parade’

280 Main Story

Local YMCA branches to reopen to members June 1 

280 Reporter

Department of Labor warns of unemployment benefit scams

280 Main Story

Shelby County has one of state’s lower unemployment rates despite record highs

Alabaster Reporter

Brookwood Baptist Health shows appreciation during National Emergency Medical Services Week

Montevallo

BREAKING: Police investigating deadly shooting in Montevallo