ST. IGNATIUS — There are few places on the planet that can compete with the natural beauty of the Mission Valley. This past Saturday, due to the health concerns related to the coronavirus, the high school graduation ceremony was conducted outdoors — on the football field with a full view of the majesty the natural environment, and a heartfelt view of the majesty of the human quest of the great equalizer, education. The St. Ignatius Class of 2020 completed one lap of the quest with high school graduation. Now they will navigate the world on the continuing quest for knowledge and place in the human condition.
Any weather is perfect for graduation. The perfect weather Saturday was an overcast of clouds that lightly wept precipitation all through the ceremonies, then on key with the festivities coming to an end, the weep grew in intensity, and the people scurried car ward. Prior to that, the pomp and circumstances of the afternoon were enjoyed under umbrellas or by cowboying it up without cover.
The Class of 2020 students and parents and other limited number of guests formed a half-circle centered on the 50-yard line; the public was spaced further out on the field, on the track, in the stands and in vehicles on the southside of the track.
“It takes a village to make a graduate,” said MHS Principal Shawn Hendrickson in a laud to the community of for its backing and promotion of education for the young citizens of St. Ignatius, especially in the latter part of the school year when the coronavirus dispatched all the normal routines of teaching and learning. “Thanks all of you for helping the kids get through COVID-19.”
Hendrickson tossed out the numbers: 1, 81, 93 and 390, then explained them. One graduate entered the military, 81 percent of the graduates will be seeking post high school education, the highest in a long time, 93 percent was the graduation rate, the highest ever, and $390,000 worth of scholarships were awarded to the graduates.
Among the graduates were the Salutatorian and Valedictorian, and they gave brief addresses.
Salutatorian Robert Dempsey thanked any of those who helped him reach this point in his life. “I would not wish to grow up in any other area,” he said. “Once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog.”
Valedictorian Hunter Eichert said COVID-19 made the school year was a historic one. She thanked all who aided in her education. “All of you made a big impact on me,” she said. “I am a Bulldog for life.”
Athletes of the year were Karolyna Carmen Buck, and Troy Brandon Matt
Retirees Lisa Foust and Valerie Umphrey were lauded for their many years of service to the St. Ignatius school system and presented with gifts as a token of appreciation for their dedication to the school and students.
The Class of 2020 moto: “We grew together, now it’s our freedom to go our separate ways and give what we can to the world.”
St. Ignatius High School Class of 2020
Darwin Allen Adams, Miles Lincolin Anderson, Beau D. Biggs, Charles Trance Bird IV, Raven Sapphire Bird, Karolyna Carmen Buck, Jedidiah Christopher-Kahn Dumont-Christy, Hayden Scott Currie, Robert James Dempsey, Amy RaeLynn Dillard, Keisha Marie Dillard, Isaac Joseph Dumontier, Hunter Nikona Eichert, Kolten James Gardipee, Olivia Marie Garland, Derrick James Gibbs, Jr., River Lexus Gonzalez, Bridger Kayd Hames, Creedince Rae Hammond, Isaiah Michael Matt, Troy Brandon Matt, Courtney Joye Mitchell, Jason Allen Moore, Walker Ellis Murphy, Aidyn Clarence Rosenbaum, Lilyin Carleen Rossbach, Drew Lynn Stewart, Joseph James Stults, Azia-Rain Useli Umphrey.