OMHS graduates honored at June 1 ceremony

NORTH SHELBY – More than 300 Oak Mountain High School students celebrated the completion of their high school careers at an outdoor graduation ceremony on the evening of Monday, June 1.

With their family members and friends in the bleachers of Heardmont Stadium, the members of the OMHS Class of 2020 walked across the stage to receive their diplomas, marking the end of what became an unusual senior year amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Kristi Sayers, OMHS principal, commended the students for their character and how they handled the changes brought by COVID-19, including the closure of school facilities and cancellation of normal activities.

“We know it’s been a difficult road getting here,” Sayers said. “Throughout your high school career, we have seen you grow and mature. Tonight, we applaud your accomplishments. We are honored to have been in this chapter of your lives.”

In a recorded message, Dr. Lisa Johnson, OMHS’s PTO president, reflected on the many life lessons the students have learned since elementary school, such as teamwork, adaptability and compassion, and said they are ready to start their next chapter.

Valedictorian Elizabeth Camp thanked her family, friends and teachers for their support over the years, and gave a special thanks to her classmates.

“I couldn’t have asked for better people to stand beside through the joys and sorrows of high school,” Camp said. “We can’t change the past, but we, the Class of 2020, we are the future.”

Valedictorian Matthew Bray also thanked his classmates, who he described as vibrant individuals, for their friendship, and urged them to uplift others, stay true to themselves, fight for what they believe in and never doubt their ability to succeed.

“We are truly greater than the sum of our parts, each a distinct, colorful tile in the mosaic of our relationships and experiences at OMHS,” Bray said. “In any case, I’m sure of one thing; no matter what life throws at you, I know your impact, Class of 2020, is just beginning.”

Bray asked those in attendance to join him in a moment of silence honoring lives lost in recent months, including Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and the thousands of COVID-19 victims across the country.

Salutatorian Eugene Lee urged his classmates to be brave, kind and safe, and added, “I wish you all luck in your future endeavors.”

Sayers shared the following statistics for the Class of 2020:

  • Two percent of the students in this senior class will join the military.
  • Five percent will enter the workforce or take a gap year.
  • Ninety-three percent will be attending either two-year or four-year colleges or universities.
  • Fifty-eight students scored 30 or above on the ACT.
  • Four students had a perfect score of 36 on the ACT.
  • At the May 20 deadline, the Class of 2020 has been offered scholarships and awards totaling $9,170,108.