Habersham Central graduates have their special night

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  • Habersham Central graduates (from left) Rachel Jenkins, Ellawyn Ketch and Nathan Luders prepare to walk onto John Larry Black Field on Friday night for the graduation ceremony. Below, many graduates decorated their caps with messages.
    Habersham Central graduates (from left) Rachel Jenkins, Ellawyn Ketch and Nathan Luders prepare to walk onto John Larry Black Field on Friday night for the graduation ceremony. Below, many graduates decorated their caps with messages.
  • Many HCHS graduates decorated their caps for the occasion.
    Many HCHS graduates decorated their caps for the occasion.
  • The crowd did its best to socially distance at Habersham Central's graduation.
    The crowd did its best to socially distance at Habersham Central's graduation.
  • Valedictorian Grace Wills delivers her address as school board member Doug Westmoreland looks on.
    Valedictorian Grace Wills delivers her address as school board member Doug Westmoreland looks on.
  • The rain gave way to the rainbow before Friday's ceremony.
    The rain gave way to the rainbow before Friday's ceremony.
  • Senior Class president Kellsie Rogers spoke about the Class of 2020's many accomplishments.
    Senior Class president Kellsie Rogers spoke about the Class of 2020's many accomplishments.
  • Teachers prepared to walk onto the field before graduation, many of whom opted to wear masks.
    Teachers prepared to walk onto the field before graduation, many of whom opted to wear masks.
  • HCHS Principal Jonathan Stribling hands out diplomas on Friday night.
    HCHS Principal Jonathan Stribling hands out diplomas on Friday night.
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   It was a night of pomp and unusual circumstance, but nothing could take away the fact that Friday was the Day of the Raider.

   Habersham Central’s 444 graduates had their special night, and the Raiders would not let rain, nor lightning, nor a global pandemic stop them.

   The graduates were able to socially distance on the football field as they listened to their classmates and administrators speak. They got their diplomas from Principal Jonathan Stribling and heard their names called out to their loved ones, and even without all the normal hugging and fellowship afterward, the event went without any disruption.

   Guests were asked to socially distance in the stands and most were able to comply. The seniors did throw caps and revel after they were declared graduates, making things seem as normal as possible in that moment.

   “The commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 was outstanding. I am proud that the graduates were provided the authentic graduation experience they deserved and had the opportunity to hear their name called and walk across the stage to receive their diploma,” Stribling said. “I am grateful to Habersham Central’s graduation team for planning and implementing the ceremony, and to our community for following the protocols necessary to make graduation safe.”

   Senior Class President Kellsie Rogers, who was among student leaders with concerns about plans for students going back to school later this month not aligning with graduation plans, touted the numerous accomplishments of her classmates in her speech Friday. Rogers said Monday that she was grateful for the opportunity to be able to reunite with her friends, many of whom she had not seen since schools were closed.

   “It was very fulfilling to be able to walk across that stage and speak in front of my class and the county,” Rogers said. “I wish more people were wearing masks and the end of the ceremony was more organized than it turned out to be.”