It was worth the wait for Owensboro High School’s Class of 2020, which finally held an in-person graduation ceremony Friday night at Rash Stadium.
Though their smiles were covered by face masks, it was easy to see the joy graduates had as they accepted their diplomas on the field while family and friends cheered from the stadium seats.
The recurring message from speakers at the ceremony was to have hope for a better future and make the most of their opportunities.
Superintendent Matthew Constant delivered a message centered around author Vivian Greene’s quote, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”
“I want to challenge the graduates, even though we’re under all of these abnormalities, to find a way to keep going and dance in the rain,” Constant said.
Class president Jaiden Greathouse said he was grateful for the chance to have a ceremony, and he hopes the class doesn’t let the events of recent months get them down as they go their separate ways.
“It’s great we have the opportunity to be here,” he said. “There are a lot of things that went down, but it’s only up from here now that we graduated. We’re just looking to build off this as a brighter future for each individual graduating.”
Greathouse said he’s proud to carry on the family tradition of becoming an OHS graduate.
“When I was young, I always wanted to graduate from Owensboro High School,” he said. “My whole family has. This is an honor to me tonight and I hope I make the best of it.”
Student Council president Olivia Miller said she thinks ending their high school career on such unique terms may help bring them closer together.
“It meant a lot to be here tonight because we didn’t even know if we would have one with all of the coronavirus,” she said. “We’ve been through all this as a family, and we’re going to finish as a family. I think it will make us stronger.”
Both Greathouse and Miller said the class appreciated the efforts from school administration to find a way to have a graduation to cap off their careers at OHS.
Constant said the desire to honor graduates with a ceremony never waivered.
“We have wanted to have his in-person ceremony since the very beginning,” he said. “The school leaders held onto that hope and waited out the summer. I just can’t tell you the elation these graduates feel. There is something about an Owensboro High School graduation and the tradition we have.”