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Happy Graduation Week, MCHS Class of 2020!


The Magoffin County High School's Virtual Graduation will air tomorrow night, May 29, at 7 p.m. on Facebook and local channels.
Photo by Jim Arnett

It’s undeniable. Your class has been robbed of memories you expected to have. Senior trips, proms and graduations all slipped away so fast and you had no idea your last day of school would be the last time you were with your classmates as one. That is a feeling you’ll never have, again, and it’s not fair you didn’t get a chance to even acknowledge the day as anything but some random Friday in March.

More years ago than I care to admit, I remember speaking at my graduation. I remember the way the packed, insufferably hot gym smelled during the three-hour ceremony. I remember not being able to see the stage because the alphabet put my 5-foot-3-inch self behind the tallest ball player we had. I remember the tough wrestler sitting next me bawling like someone had died. It was surreal. It was special. But it was plainly ordinary.

A couple months later I sat in a full auditorium at college. Incoming freshmen were gathered before the semester started for an inspirational, but “this isn’t high school” type of speech and all I could do was look around the room. This thing that had been so special a few months before, barely was anything and every single person in that room had a similar story to tell about their graduation, just like the many classes before us. Just like the many classes that followed us. Until you.

The normal bookend to high school we all received had happened so many times it was down to a formula where they plugged in our names and that was that. You, class of 2020, are not just names plugged into an old, time-tested formula.

The Magoffin County High School’s efforts to make this year special for you all should be applauded. They didn’t throw a graduation. They held 140 graduations, one for each student. They didn’t make you just a name and a number. They celebrated each and every one of you with personalized and custom signs. The gifts, the virtual prom, baccalaureate and graduation and so much more have simply been outstanding. No class before has been celebrated like yours, so soak it all in.

In general, high school is a microcosm operating completely separate from the real world. Teachers do the best they can to prepare the students, but many struggle when they step outside of that world and into reality. I have a hunch your class won’t have any problem rolling with the punches life throws at you, though.

Your class has shown great grace as all the end-of-the-year plans collapsed. Online only classes? No problem. Virtual graduation? When do you need me there? Parade? Are we talking cap and gowns, prom dresses or jeans? It is this flexibility that will help you more than anything out of any book can teach you. Plans fail. The proverbial crap is going to hit the fan. Life is rarely fair. It is how you react and move forward that defines you and we as a community are very proud of what we are seeing out of you.

Good luck on your next step in life and don’t ever forget the lessons you’ve learned by being in this very special class.




Heather Oney

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