After a few plan changes and some creative spacing of chairs on Ernie Glass Field, Hayfork High School’s 2020 graduation ceremony went off without a hitch in beautiful weather Thursday, June 11. The small graduation was limited to immediate family groups who were socially distanced on the track, with a few distanced into the stands. Some students started their new lives in the money, literally wearing leis constructed of dollar bills.

Retiring Principal Debbie Miller said she has watched the students grow and overcome several obstacles, starting with having their classrooms closed by mold as freshmen to graduating six feet apart as seniors during a pandemic.

“They have remained in good spirits and taken each bump but with smiles and shrugs so I know they can manage whatever else life is going to throw at them,” she said.

Valedictorian Angelica Rohrs seconded Miller’s sentiment that overcoming life’s obstacles has prepared the graduates for life. She said mold-closed classrooms taught them patience and doing schoolwork at home during the pandemic taught them responsibility and organization.

“It is with these skills that we are ready to face whatever the world throws at us once we venture off on our own paths. There are many issues the world faces -- poverty, climate change, conflict, finding a cure for cancer -- the list goes on,” she said. “With our patience, we will be able to handle these great issues, never giving up our vision of a better world and never losing hope, even if progress is slow or goes unnoticed.”

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