Calera High School honors Class of 2020 graduates

CALERA – During a time of unrest and concern across the United States and world, Calera High School’s graduation ceremony on Tuesday, June 2, provided an opportunity for residents to celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2020.

The novel coronavirus outbreak and protests and riots following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minnesota police officer were at the forefront of the minds of those in attendance, including valedictorian Harrison Jackson.

Jackson said he scrapped his speech that was prepared before those recent events.

“Sadly, it took these events to remind me that every person on Earth is invaluable,” he said. “For too long, we’ve forgotten or ignored that we need each other.”

Jackson said recent events will serve as a “wake-up call” for realizing differing opinions and ideas are good, but we must learn how to handle these differences.

“Looking around at my classmates tonight, I see many great leaders,” Jackson said.

Salutatorian Bailey Jackson proved an example of overcoming some of the difficulties mentioned by Harrison Jackson.

Bailey Jackson revealed that she almost committed suicide and was later diagnosed with severe depressive disorder, and added that her story is relevant because all people suffer.

“None of us have any idea what the future holds for us. There are people who care for you and just don’t show it,” Jackson said and gave the Class of 2020 a final charge.

“Make the world better by doing what you know is right.”

Fellow salutatorian Alexandria Le encouraged her classmates to follow their dreams.

“I like to think we’re all dreamers in some way,” Lee said. “It only takes one coming true to prove we can make miracles in our own lives. Life is precious, but it doesn’t last forever.”

Earlier, Principal Branden Vincent welcomed those in attendance and said Calera High School’s Class of 2020 was “resilient, diligent and passionate.”

The class earned more than $4 million in scholarships, and almost half its members were in the National Honor Society.

“While you face a lot of challenges ahead, I know your greatness will shine through,” Vincent said.

The final speaker of the evening was Class of 2014 alumnus Henry Davis.

Davis shared with the graduates advice based on an acronym for the “Mamba” nickname used for the late Kobe Bryant: maturity, accountability, motivated, bravery and adaptability.

Davis encouraged the graduates to not let fear stop them.

“The fear of success is real, but don’t let it consume you,” he said. “Life attempted to throw you a curveball, but you kept your eye on the ball and knocked it out of the park.”

To view and purchase photos from the event, visit ShelbyCountyPhotos.com/Events-and-Happenings/20200602-Calera-graduation/.