by: Haley Pritchett - Shelbyville News
The Triton Central graduation was what Principal Cary Chandler described as weird.
It took place Saturday on a hot July evening. Guests in attendance fanned themselves with programs, and graduates entered on the track. It was not what any of the seniors imagined their graduation being.
Then again, nothing about their senior year was.
Principal Cary Chandler started his speech by saying that he had almost wanted to apologize to the class of 2020 for everything that they had missed out on.
“The next thought was hang on here, this is the class of 2020,” he said. “They have already gone through so many different obstacles to get to be seated right here this evening.”
Superintendent, Chris Hoke admired the life experiences the class had pushed through.
“You were born in the aftermath of 9-11,” he said. “Now you leave this first stage in the midst of a global pandemic. It’s probably fair to say you’ve had quite an interesting start to this journey.”
He said that being a betting man, he would bet on the students of the class of 2020 for success.
“I want you to remember that adversity reveals your character. Given your start, I like your chances,” Hoke said.
Chelsey Cook, salutatorian, said that through all of the challenges 2020 brought, the class maintained their unity and strength. Learning online is challenging enough, she said, but mixing in a lot of the college courses that many seniors took made it harder. The students also had to spend time separated away from people who they had grown up with and had learned to rely on.
“That is why I believe we are one of the strongest and cohesive graduating classes that Triton has ever known,” Cook said.
Cook wants the class to appreciate the past, feel the joy and celebration of the present, but to be excited for the future.
“The world is immense, and it is ours now,” Cook said.
Valedictorian Brooke Haney said that many seniors get to this point and are ready to run for the hills away from Triton. Her class, however, realizes that they will always be tigers.
“We have gone from the simple class of 2020, to the senior class who has survived a pandemic. While our senior year did not turn out the way we imagined, it didn’t take away from the 13 years we had,” Haney said.
The class slogan states: “we are all in this together, forever”.
“I would like to say that I will miss you all, but I have been missing you all since March 13,” Haney said.
Chandler hopes that the class will keep in contact with the relationships they have made at Triton Central.
“We are made and need relationships,” he said. “I believe taking that aspect of our lives has been most difficult. I want to challenge each one of you not to take for granted your relationships you’ve made at TC. I want you to continue what you built at TC.”
As a basketball coach, Chandler always prepared for the worst. While he does not want students to always be focused on the worst, he does want them to be aware of the weird.
“I would say prepare for the weirdest. Think about the word weird. Strange, unusual, peculiar, eerie, uncanny, how else could anyone describe our world right now?”
He told the class of 2020 that life boils down to three things: faith, hope, and love.
“Be grateful for your relationships, prepare for a fun, positive, but oh my weird world you are about to step into,” he said.