REEDSVILLE — “No matter what paths or choices we choose to follow, remember to always ‘Live Original’.”
That was the message of Eastern High School Class of 2020 Valedictorian Faith Bauerbach as she addressed members of the graduating class during the broadcast of the virtual graduation ceremony on Sunday afternoon.
Due to COVID-19 and the resulting restrictions, the 63rd annual Commencement Exercises for Eastern High School were recorded during the week of May 4 and put together in to a video by Bartee Photography, which was released online at the original graduation time of 2 p.m. on Sunday.
The video included the slides featuring baby and senior photos of the graduates, along with their senior quotes; a walk through the halls; a welcome by Class President Hannah Faulisi; addresses by Valedictorian Faith Bauerbach, Salutatorian Michael Letson, Principal Shawn Bush and Supt. Steve Ohlinger; invocation and benediction by Garrett Barringer; the Pledge of Allegiance lead by Brandon Baer; a message for Eastern Local Board of Education members; and slides listing future plans of graduates, along with their awards, scholarships and high school activities.
“I think I can speak for everyone when I say I never imagined this is how we would be graduating. … Because of COVID-19, I am saddened that I am only able to have a limited amount of family members in front of me today, as a I am sure the rest of you are too,” said Bauerbach. “Through this difficult time there are still people that are proud of you, still people that made a way for us to graduate, and still a God that loves you and is with you every step of the way.”
In her address, Bauerbach to live their life, living “unique” and “original”.
“Sadie Robertson reminds us to ‘live unique’, to ‘follow our plan created for our lives’, and to ‘live originally’,” said Bauerbach. “No matter where life takes us after today, we will know that our class will be remembered for a long time. We must not think too hard on what we may have missed out on in our last days of high school, but what our future will bring us now that we are graduated and starting a new chapter in our lives.”
In his Salutatorian address, Michael Letson spoke about the events unfolding around the class of 2020 and the importance of where the graduates are at this time.
“In contrast to popular belief, I believe a high school diploma is the most important form of education that one can receive,” said Letson, explaining his reasoning. “One cannot get into college, a trade school, or attain many forms of employment in the workforce without it. The number of possibilities that one has after receiving their high school diploma are infinite. And for this reason, I encourage each and everyone of you to follow the road that you want to travel. It is important that you pursue the path that you want to travel, and never let anyone stand in your way.”
Letson also spoke about how the class of 2020 is “destined for greatness” due to the events that have shaped their lives.
“We entered this world when our country was in turmoil and distress due to the terrible terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and we are graduating, which for many is leaving the state of dependence of our parents, once again when the country is in turmoil and distress from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Letson. “We can take these events and let them drag us down and cause more negativity, or we can use them as a learning experience. … Once things return to a state of normalcy, we should still stay connected and spend time with our loved ones. We should do things that really matter.”
Letson closed with a quote from long time Eastern Board of Education member, and his biggest mentor, John Rice.
“John Rice says, ‘If you never want to make a mistake in your life, stay inside and never do anything. And I promise you that will be the biggest mistake you could ever make.’ I encourage you, the Class of 2020, to never be afraid of failure. It means that you are working, and that is the key to being successful,” concluded Letson.
Class officers for the Eastern High School Class of 2020 were President Hannah Renee Faulisi; Vice President Mason E Dishong; Secretary Ivy Alexis Adams; Treasurer Haylie Jade Blankenship; Historian Wesley Cole Smith; Chaplain Garrett Dawson Barringer.
Graduates as part of the Eastern High School Class of 2020 include: Ivy Alexis Adams, Brayden Michael Arix, Brandon Edward Baer, Berry Lane Bailey, Garrett Dawson Barringer, Tressa Rebecca Lynn Bartimus, Jaymie Erin Basham, Faith Ann Bauerbach, Gabrielle Mary Alice Beeler, Haylie Jade Blankenship, Jasmine Diana Brewer, Shannan Nichole Brewer, Chloe Dawn Brooks, Jordan Marie Buckley, Kevin Hayana Burke, Haley Dawn Burton, Brayden Shawn Bush, Alison Layne Carleton, Austin Waid Carnahan, Teddi Nicole Casto, Emma Rose Causey, Matthew Lucas Clingenpeel, Christopher Logan Csikos, Katie Sue Dailey, Ryan Keith Dill, Mason E. Dishong, Nicholas Allen Durst, Hannah Renee Faulisi, Wyatt Lane Fox, Samuel Edward Fyffe, Amy Marie Griffin, Rylee Beth Haggy, Lexa Taryn Hayes, Nathaniel Lee Hensley,
Autumn Haylee Honaker, Gabriel Michael Leonard Johnston, Bradley Scott Kimes, Ethan Scott Kline, Garret Michael Allen Lawrence, Jason Scott Lawson, Alexander Michael Legan, Michael Jay Letson Jr., Nathan Scott Litchfield, Nicholas Keith Little, Isaac Jacob Lopez-Groves, Aubree Jalene Lyons, Addie Elizabeth McDaniel, Derrick Jayden Metheney, Chelsea Dawn Misner, Camron Lee Nelson, Madelyn Jolie Nutter, Bailey Hunter Putnam, Dalton Lee Reed, Colton Jacob Reynolds, Ronna Lynn Robinson, Megan Allison Ross, Kaylee Nicole Savoy, Alley Lynn Scott, Alyssa Rose Smith, Jeffrey Michael Smith, Wesley Cole Smith, Kelsey Skye Starcher, Kristyn Elizabeth Stewart, Aubrey Olivia Thompson, Emily Faith Van Meter, Wyatt James Watson, and Brittany Lynn White.
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Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.