class of 2020

I personally want to say thank you to the administration and faculty for everything they did for the graduation on Saturday, June 6. They were so very organized, they all cheered on the graduates as you passed them by, which made them feel special, as they all are special. In these times with the social distancing requirements, graduation seemed like it could be another bleak moment, one these seniors have had to endure, so many times in the last few months of their senior year, missing their last prom, spring sports, academic recognition night, signing yearbooks, and enjoying the last...

SOCIAL DISTANCING REQUIREMENTS for the COVID-19 pandemic forced a new kind of graduation ceremony at Middlebury Union High School and other secondary schools throughout the land. Students on Saturday rolled up in decorated vehicles to pick up their diplomas from a makeshift stage in front of the MUHS building. Independent photo/John S. McCright
MIDDLEBURY — Four fruitful years at Middlebury Union High School this past Saturday came down to one last meander down the horseshoe driveway fronting a building that had become home away from home for the more than 127 members of the class of 2020. It was a chance to drive off into the sunset, and each student took full advantage this past Saturday. One-by-one, they rolled up to a makeshift stage in sleek coupes, revving Jeeps, powerful trucks and classic autos, most of them decorated with the black-and-orange colors of MUHS and bearing bright signs announcing each matriculating senior....

NEWLY MINTED OTTER Valley graduate Alia Edmuns gives a shout out from the family vehicle after OV’s socially distance graduation on Saturday. Independent photo/Lee J. Kahrs
BRANDON — It’s amazing what we can get used to.  For decades each June, graduating seniors and their families, teachers and school officials packed Otter Valley’s gymnasium for the area’s biggest coming-of-age event of the year, high school graduation. It was usually very warm and close in OV’s House of Noise, but that never seemed to dampen the enthusiasm for the day. Then came 2020, the year of an unprecedented coronavirus pandemic that forced the closure of school buildings three months ago and ushered in a “new normal” of face masks and social distancing. As a society, we have adapted,...

ONE OF THE VUHS morning meeting groups of seniors sends their mortarboards flying on Friday evening, June 12, after VUHS Principal Stephanie Taylor announced they have earned their degrees. Independent photo/Andy Kirkaldy
VERGENNES — It wasn’t a typical graduation evening for the Vergennes Union High School Class of 2020.  But then what has been typical over the past four months for the class’ 68 seniors, months filled with distance learning and isolation and uncertainty? Friday evening’s festivities saw a parade through Vergennes organized by parents and community members that followed a socially distanced ceremony held in front of the school.  The ceremony saw seniors grouped by the dozen — they were sorted by their morning meeting home rooms. The stars of the show were driven up to a stage at the back of...
Like all, we wish to congratulate the seniors at the area high schools — Middlebury, Mount Abraham, Vergennes, Otter Valley, Proctor and West Rutland. In the past four years they have delighted packed auditoriums with jazz, orchestral and theatrical performances; donated countless hours of community service; given their all athletically and sometimes won titles; learned the value of teamwork; excelled in academics and vocational training; participated in clubs; and forged lasting bonds of friendship. We salute the graduates and their friends and families and their accomplishments with this...
MIDDLEBURY — Commencement ceremonies for the Middlebury Union High School class of 2020 on June 13 were unprecedented — not for being wild and ostentatious, but for being minimalist out of necessity. Due to social distancing requirements during COVID-19, each of the 131 graduating seniors were individually driven to a stage at MUHS, where they picked up their hard-earned diplomas. No teeming crowd, no group hugs, no conventional processional. But the lack of pomp and circumstance didn’t diminish the sense of pride and accomplishment that each graduate felt upon capping a high school career...
VERGENNES — Lost traditions and milestones. Challenges and struggles. And ultimately resiliency, hope in the face of uncertain futures, and a greater appreciation for the people in their lives.  Seniors in the Vergennes Union High School Class of 2020 sounded those themes when talking about their final semesters and careers at VUHS and Addison Northwest School District elementary schools. Ferrisburgh residents Sophie Hatch and Emily Rooney, and Vergennes residents Addie Brooks and Alder Donovan-Cook talked to the Independent about their experiences and those of the 68 members of their class....
BRISTOL — There have been days over the past two months when Mount Abraham Union High School senior Maizy Shepard would catch herself looking at a clock in her Bristol home, trying to remember what class she would have been in at that moment, if school hadn’t been disrupted by a global health crisis. “I started to miss my old schedule, even if that meant getting up three hours earlier than I have been,” Shepard told the Independent in a recent email. “It has been a very confusing time.” Being a senior has only added to that sense of confusion, she said. One by one, since Gov. Phil Scott...
The Otter Valley Union High School administration, faculty and staff took to social media in the days leading up to graduation and left the following messages for the Class of 2020: This year’s senior class, the Otter Valley Class of 2020, showed us how resilient and strong they are as individuals and as a combined group. They have weathered many storms — from 9/11 to COVID-19. Throughout all, they have made learning and their community a priority. They have looked out for one another throughout every obstacle and cheered each other on with every success. They are to be commended for their...

Mount Abraham Union High School senior John Bent chose an iconic form of transportation for graduation on Saturday. Bent and fellow members of the Class of 2020 received their diplomas, to great fanfare, in a socially distanced drive-up ceremony that treated every senior like a rock star. Photo by Buzz Kuhns
BRISTOL — Eighty-one days after their school building was shut down to help prevent the spread of a deadly pandemic — 81 days of remote learning, separation from their friends, canceled extracurricular activities, and anxiety over the fate of their communities and indeed the world itself — the Mount Abraham Union High School Class of 2020 made a triumphant return to campus on Saturday to participate in what will turn out to have been one of the most memorable graduation ceremonies in the school’s history. In addition to the family and friends who accompanied them in the one vehicle they were...

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