Martinsville High School graduated 125 seniors on Saturday morning in a virtual ceremony followed by a drive-thru procession.
The virtual ceremony honored the Martinsville High School graduating class and was broadcast on the local government tv station and on the Martinsville Public Schools Facebook page.
After the virtual ceremony, seniors were invited to the high school to participate in a drive-thru procession. Seniors were allowed to have one car per family and drove by the front of the school and around the athletic track. Martinsville High School faculty and staff cheered the seniors along the route.
Once at the home football stands, seniors received their diplomas from Martinsville High Principal Aji Dixon and Assistant Principal Teresa Donley through the window of the car. Seniors and their families were given the opportunity to pose for pictures.
The virtual ceremony featured speeches from seniors Jalia Dillard, Clark Givens, Allen Herndon, and Kathryne Hruza. Melissa Anderson, who gave the Pledge of Allegiance, Clark Givens, and Kathryne Hruza were tied for valedictorian.
Hruza praised the hard work and dedication of faculty and staff, saying, “It is important to recognize all of our teachers and staff for the wonderful job they have done in helping us become young adults.”
Dillard talked about how close knit this graduating class is. “Although we have grown apart and found our own groups, we all still love and care for each other the same,” she said.
Herndon, class president, spoke of looking back at all of the memories from the past four years at Martinsville High. “I scrolled through social media, Instagram to be exact, and scrolled through just about everybody’s profile in the graduating class,” he said. “I was able to relive not only mine but my fellow classmates’ memories of the last four years of high school. I was able to relive the football games, basketball games, soccer games, award ceremonies, plays, band concerts, and all kinds of other activities.”
Givens talked about being “Bulldog strong,” stating, “We have all had to adapt to these new times, students and teachers alike…. We rolled with the punches and won this battle and have all found our own silver linings,” he said. “We have all been brought down to our knees, but we got up, we fought back, and we hit harder.”
Albert Harris Choir Director Erica Becker sang the National Anthem. Graduating seniors Janiyah Benton and Amber Roundtree performed “Rise Up” by Andra Day.
“We had a morning filled with celebration for our students, their family, and friends,” said Martinsville High School Principal Aji Dixon. “I want to thank students, parents, family, and friends, for allowing us the honor of educating these young people. I want to thank our students for their hard work and dedication to achieve academic excellence.”
Martinsville City Public Schools decided on a virtual graduation instead of a traditional ceremony inside the school auditorium due to the coronavirus pandemic.