The Valley High School Virtual Graduation activities commenced on May 19, with a video presentation of the Senior Scholarship Awards Banquet with opening remarks by Class President Ricky Bullock.

An impressive array of scholarships were offered from 12 colleges and universities. Mostly in-state, but others from as far away as UNLV and California’s University of The Pacific.

The 25 graduates will be embarking on a broad spectrum of majors.  Along with each institution’s name is included the award title, and its monetary value ranging from $96K to $250 for the individual student. This year totaling $806,084!

A list of scholastic achievements and accrued college credits was voiced by Principal Jim Wood to have altogether amassed 399. Austin Smith’s 62 alone already has earned him an Associate of Arts degree! Closing comments were by Student Body President Abbey Bonham.

On May 21, a Reverse Parade in the campus parking lot lasted from 4 p.m. to well beyond its scheduled 5 o’clock. Curiously, this event had the ‘floats’ of families and friends in a procession showering the by-standing graduates typically with cards and cash gifts to help them on their chosen way. 

Intermittently, CTE business instructor Lance Peterson was busy handing out their hot-off-the-press “Find Your Why” yearbooks.

That evening at 7 p.m., the pre-recorded Graduation Ceremony was made available online at vhs.kanek12.org, with Ricky Bullock welcoming viewers with gratitude for their support. Abbey prayed the Invocation.

Valedictorian Kacie Cox observed, “Small changes can have big outcomes. Choose something your future self will thank you for.”

Salutatorian Sierra Saul noted that most of them have been together since kindergarten, wisely concluding: “We didn’t realize we were making memories; we just thought we were having fun.”

Shayla Spencer and Casey Reck intoned their satirical Class Predictions, followed by the Class Movie created by Kacie Cox comprised of baby pictures, elementary school activities and current portraits.

Principal Jim Wood mused that this generation was birthed during the 911 terrorist attacks back east, and are now here in the Pandemic era.

He expressed admiration for their resilience in adapting to these stressfully difficult times, and having been abruptly forced to forego the class’s traditional southern California theme park and ocean beach outings. Quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do not follow where the path may lead; but go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.”

Thus, admonishing a key point in a song by Tim McGraw: “Always be humble and kind, not boisterous and loud. Be respectful, and remember where you came from, and the people who stepped-up for you with the experience you need.”

He especially cited the tireless efforts of Lance Peterson and music teacher Robert Lacey in making the virtual graduation possible.

He specifically acknowledged Arlene Sorensen, so energetically active as a tutor and liaison with colleges on their behalf, who is now retiring after a long and fruitful career.

In completion of all requirements, his recommendation for graduation was accepted by Kane County Board of Education representative Brian Goulding.