Graduation season in the Upper Cumberland continued at Jackson County High School Friday night.
The Jackson County Graduation took place outside on the football field in Gainesboro to help with social distancing. Families said it was important for their seniors to have their moment in the spotlight.
“I’m extremely happy that they are at least getting to have a graduation,” Parent Bethany Moore said. “I was super worried because their prom was cancelled, their graduation was cancelled, their project graduation was cancelled. I’m pretty far out of high school but not so far that I don’t remember what it was like to be able to graduate and be able to spend the last few months with my friends.”
COVID-19 concerns have led to many schools postponing their graduation ceremonies. Keisha Birdwell said it was important to hold the Jackson County graduation to show the kids how much the community cares.
“I think it’s important because these kids need to be shown that we proud of them,” Birdwell said. “They’ve been through so much the last few much with everything. It’s good they get to do this.”
As the state continues to loosen restrictions, Moore said she would have like to see officials open the graduation up to more people.
“The fact that they are doing this is awesome,” Moore said. “I think it’s great. I wish it could have been lifted since restrictions were technically supposed to be lifted today. I wish it would have been lifted and more people could have come.”
After missing almost a quarter of the school year, Valedictorian Elizabeth Newberry perhaps best summed up the struggle the class of 2020 faced in her valedictory speech.
“For 13 years, the class of 2020 has been together adding new friends, and saying goodbye to others,” Newberry said. Born during the great scare of 9/11 and graduating in the time of a world pandemic. Nevertheless, this class is to me a class I would never give up on.”
You can watch the full Jackson County graduation at https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/jackson-county-high-school-gainesboro-tn/evt32cc665340.