Coosa Valley Academy graduates 2020 class

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

HARPERSVILLE – The Coosa Valley Academy Class of 2020 was ecstatic as they received their diplomas in front of friends and family at an in-person ceremony at the school’s football stadium on Saturday, May 30.

Like most schools there was a large amount of uncertainty over whether students would be able gather for a traditional ceremony due to concerns relating to the COVID-19 epidemic. However, with eased restrictions and safety guidelines in place, the ceremony was able to move forward.

“Each student here at Coosa Valley Academy all bring special strengths to our school,” said Pam Lovelady, CVA Headmaster. “ I am very lucky to be able to love them, learn to know their strengths and weaknesses and thank God that I was part of their life.“

Lovelady then took the time to acknowledge each student individually and their families. She shared personal anecdotes about her time with each of the students and how she has watched them develop over the past year.

The school honored a total of 18 students for its 48th graduating class. The valedictorian was Marlee Harmon and the salutatorian was Shelby Gerald.

“I’d like to start off by thanking all the teachers and staff for being my friends,” Gerald said. “I wasn’t the closest with anyone senior year, but you all made an impression on me. Everything comes to an end, and this is ours. However, everything also has a new beginning. I know we all have different plans, but you’ll make new friends. I know that this is weird that everything we did for the last 12 years is changing. Things end abruptly but they start this way too. Congratulations to my fellow classmates for making it.”

Harmon addressed her fellow classmates, who she knew to be excited and anxious about their future prospects. She also touched on the unique nature of the world which they were going out into.

“My dear terrified graduates, you’re about to enter the most uncertain and thrilling time of your lives,” Harmon started. “Despite COVID-19 our senior year, we made it through this crazy year with the help of our family and God.

“The class of 2020 has made history. We are the class that has never seen the world without 9/11, we are the first high school class that has been separated at graduation, the first to be quarantined while still having to finish school, and we might be the first class that won’t be able to start college when we’re supposed to.”

Several students received awards during the ceremony for maintaining good grades, while also participating in athletic activities. These students included Madelyn Lee, Marlee Harmon and Zane Jantz.

Though it was one of the most uncertain times in recent history, the students looked optimistically toward the future as they parted for the last time. Many plan on moving forward to college when they reopen, and many students will enter the workforce immediately to contribute to society.