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Bryan County High School graduates 110
Hats fly BCHS 2021
Mortarboards fly as the Bryan County High School 2021 graduating class celebrates Saturday, May 22, 2021 at Redskins Stadium.

Education comes in many forms and it is not always in the classroom.

Bryan County High School’s Class of 2021 was reminded of that when its graduation ceremonies were held Saturday morning at Redskins Stadium.

Under ideal weather conditions the school graduated 110 seniors before a packed stadium that saw people also standing along the fences on both sides of the field. Those in attendance were there to support graduates celebrate the climax of a year and a half of trial and tribulation which none had experienced previously and one which none hope to ever go through again.

A year ago, graduation was a drive through affair due to the COVID19 crises as principal Mary Beth Blankenship was reduced to handing students their diplomas through an open car window. This year’s ceremonies were more normal, or as normal as one could expect.

“It’s hard to put in words what a great year we had under the circumstances,” Blankenship said.

“To be able to see them in their caps and gowns was wonderful.

“Words can’t describe what it was like to see them go by in a car. It’s tremendous we can be out here today. It was an awesome event. The drive through was great but it’s something you only want to do once in a lifetime.”

It was the last graduation Blankenship will preside over at Bryan County High School. After three years she is moving into a position in the board office.

This fall the high school and middle schools will be combined and current middle school principal Elizabeth Raeburn will head up the consolidated school.

The valedictory address was delivered by Emily Katherine Hughes and remarks from salutatorian Kate Elizabeth Butler preceded her speech. An additional 11 students were recognized as honor graduates.

Honor graduates were: Alexander Anderson, Jeremiah Bowman, Logan Brazell, Marvin Brown, Christopher Chapman, Justin Daniel, Krista DuBose, Alexis Hovis, Will Kroymann, Yasmine Rivera and Dorian Stokes.

Blankenship and Hughes both emphasized to the graduates the trials and tribulations they have all gone through due to the pandemic will make them stronger and better prepared for the future.

“I want you to know how proud I am of you and what you’ve accomplished over the past 12-13 years, especially this year,” Blankenship told the graduates. “Wow! What a year it’s been.

“Your class, the class of 2021, has done, been through and experienced things no graduating class no class in my lifetime has ever done.,” Blankenship said. “You’ve made it through a pandemic; you missed the fourth nine weeks of your junior year, all of your spring events, you learned differently, you’ve increased your technology skills, been quarantined—some of you multiple times—you’ve changed routines in school along with a host of other safety measures.

“It has not always been fun at times but congratulations. You’ve made it to graduation and that my friends is something to celebrate.”

Hughes, who will enter the University of Georgia this fall as a sophomore due to taking dual enrollment classes at Georgia Southern, echoed her principal in her remarks.

“Students have had to transition to many unfamiliar concepts,” Hughes said to her classmates. “This class has seen more changes in daily practices.

We were challenged with new technology, new ways of thinking and new ways of learning.

“Many moments of that time have been filled with uncertainties and continual challenge.

Therefore, I applaud all of you for standing up to your fears and getting to this moment right now. These changes have made all of us stronger as we had to rise above our adversities.”

Hughes said she plans to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences and Avian Biology.

With a head start toward her degree thanks to the dual enrollment program she also plans on earning her Masters Degree before going to medical school.

Butler, too, has been taking college classes since her freshman year and will be attending Georgia Tech this fall where she will major in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences with a concentration in Environmental Science.

After college Butler said she wants to be a marine biologist/ conservationist and hopefully work for NASA or NOAA doing work with coral populations and marine sanctuaries.

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