Following the processional of the graduates and the signing of the National Anthem by Tanner Shell, the commencement ceremony for the Hillgrove Class of 2020 began with an emotional welcome from Assistant Principal Sam Sanford. “Though this ceremony is non-traditional,” he said, “I am grateful that we have the opportunity to celebrate our 2020 Class.”
After short speeches by Salutatorian Margaret Wolfe and Valedictorian Evan Montoya, AP Sanford took to the podium at Cantrell Stadium once again to fill in for Principal Angela Stewart who wasn’t able to attend the ceremony.
“You are done with this chapter in your life,” he told the attentive graduates. “I don’t know what the future holds, but I am optimistic, and know you will do great things in your lives. It has been my pleasure to serve you through your high school years.”
AP Sanford then noted several important accomplishments of this class. More than half are Honor Graduates with a GPA over 3.5. Nearly 90% of the class have chosen a two- or four-year post-secondary school and have collectively received over $13 million in scholarship money.
He closed his short speech with written remarks from Principal Stewart, who was self-quarantining at home as a precaution after coming in contact with someone with COVID-19.
“When I reflect on the descriptive words of unprecedented times which describe the experience of this year’s graduates,” AP Sanford read as he fought back tears, “I find words like extraordinary, fantastic, remarkable, uncommon, unheard of, unparalleled, unusual, and exceptional, and this is what you are in my eyes. Wishing you all success in all that you do; Go Hawks!”
After an official certification from Board Chair Brad Wheeler, the presentation of diplomas began and the historic event came to a close.