SCHS Class of 2020 receives diplomas

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer 

The Class of 2020 entered an uncertain world in the aftermath of 9/11 and now enter an uncertain world as adults in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, noted Shelby County High School valedictorian Noah Harper.

“I know one characteristic this class exudes is resiliency,” Harper said during the school’s graduation ceremony, held Monday night, June 1 at Papa McCombs Stadium. “The fact that we made it here, decorated with these awards and accomplishments, is a testament to our perseverance, determination and commitment to excellence.”

Harper continued, “Graduates, you’re all destined for greatness. Each and every one of you has the potential to seize the world. You have all grown into powerful intellectual individuals who will make a massive footprint on the Earth. Tables may turn, bridges will burn, but we must live and learn. Oftentimes, the best way to predict your future is to create it.”

Harper noted several accomplishments of the class, such as winning more than $1 million in scholarships, the success of the school’s baseball team and girls’ softball team, and the academic successes of student organizations like Scholars Bowl and the math team.

There were also lighthearted comments; Harper said that while he’s thankful to celebrate graduation, “It would have been nice to have air conditioning.”

SGA executive president Ashlee Hall thanked the community for its support through love and prayer.

“These years are stepping stones to the rest of our lives,” Hall said. “There is so much more out there in the world than the walls of Shelby County High. Never settle. The world is up for grabs.”

Senior class president Molly Beth Gray offered an encouraging quote from the film “Hope Floats,” and Pastor Tim Driskell of Grace Baptist Church in Montevallo quoted a portion of Isaiah 43:1-3 in his invocation.

“While dealing with cliched messages of uncertain and unprecedented times, God, you affirm within our souls that you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations, and that from everlasting to everlasting you are God,” Driskell said before quoting the passage.

Senior sponsor Anne Stansell presented the Johnson-Pope Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a graduating senior, to Reed Horton.

Ashley Wilson was announced as the class salutatorian.

Following his comments, valedictorian Noah Harper presented the Golden Apple Award to the family of Connie Wheeler. The Golden Apple Award is given to the individual the class valedictorian has identified as making the most significant impact on their educational process over the past 12 years.

Harper said Wheeler was “the sweetest woman to ever teach” and said she simultaneously taught him math and the importance of showing everyone he meets respect and kindness.

See all our photos and purchase images from graduation at Shelbycountyphotos.com.