Montevallo celebrates Class of 2020 with graduation

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

MONTEVALLO – Though seniors at MHS were forced to miss several pivotal moments during their final year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Class of 2020 was able to reunite one last time on Monday, June 1, for an in-person graduation ceremony.

The ceremony took place at 6 p.m. at Theron Fisher Stadium with several safety guidelines, including social distancing designations, in place to allow friends and family to watch their loved ones receive the recognition they deserve for completing high school despite the challenges they faced.

MHS Assistant Principal Kevin Raybon and Principal Steve Bromley began the commencement by thanking family and friends and congratulating the 100 students on their achievement, especially during this tough time.

Salutatorian Sammy Zou then addressed her fellow students reflecting on the past four years, and looking forward to the future with some parting words of advice.

“During my time in high school I often wished high school would go by faster. I longed for the day that I would leave high school and never come back,” Zou explained. “Now, as I stand as a graduate of MHS, I realize how much I miss school and the memories I made here.

“Looking back I wish I had appreciated those moments more, but time doesn’t go back. I hope everyone will appreciate the people around you now. Lastly, I would like to say to my teachers, friends and especially my family that I really appreciate you.”

That greater appreciation for many students in the class of 2020 came after their senior year was cut more than two months short due to the spread of COVID-19.

Valedictorian Abigail Heuton began her address by joking that this class was actually lucky, because they got to have “the ultimate senior skip day.”

She went on to reassure her fellow students that even though the future seems uncertain that it is important to remain hopeful for what comes next.

“Standing here today and looking at you from a safe social distance, I want you to know that it is okay if your plans for the future aren’t going the way you planned,” Heuton said. “Right now you may have trouble imagining a bright future and may be scared about what will come. No matter what happens we will make our own paths.

“We have so much power in our hands. Become active in voting, find something you are passionate about. All of us can make an impact even if it is just one voice out of a million.  That one voice could inspire others and turn hundreds into millions.”

Bromley also took time to acknowledge the important role that teachers and faculty members played in helping the students move through their high school years and beyond.

“Montevallo High Schools faculty represent many years of service, dedication and education,” Bromley explained.  “We are very proud of the many contributions our faculty have made in the lives of our graduates.”

According to Bromley the 100 students in the Class of 2020 received a combined total of just under $4 million in scholarships.

Photos available at Shelbycountyphotos.com.