STUART — Green-and-white mortarboards flew high into the sky above Patrick County High School’s football field Friday night as the 174-member strong Class of 2019 cheered its graduation.
At the beginning, Principal Kenneth Cox called the ceremony to order. The Patrick County High School band, directed by Joseph Whitt, played the processional as the graduating seniors walk between two lines of faculty dressed in black graduation gowns.
Allison Nicole Eanes led in prayer and reflection, and the Military STAR Club presented the flags. OCHS choir members sang the PCHS alma mater.
The bleachers were filled with spectators, as were rows of chairs on either side of the boys in dark-green gowns and girls in bright-white gowns.
The graduation ceremony was not without its challenges, as Senior Class Secretary Emily Horton alluded when she said during her address, “special thanks to the staff who helped with moving the graduation location three times.”
The latest change came at 2 p.m. Friday, when it was announced that the ceremony would be moved from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. to wait for storms to pass.
In another sentiment, she said, “We may even refer to this time in our lives as the good ole’ days.”
Said Salutatorian Reanna Carico: “What was supposed to be one of the best years of my life turned out to be the hardest, yet I made it. We all made it. We will all be forever thankful for the things we learned at school.”
Said Senior Class Vice President Riya Patel: “We do not realize we are making memories until it’s all gone.”
She heralded “being part of a county where no matter what you do there are people there to support you.”
“Let’s get this party started,” Senior Class President and Valedictorian Ella Jane Cooper said. Students applauded and cheered, and their claps and laughter did not stop until she did.
“Put you seat belts on, and tie your shoes on nreal right, because I’m about to knock your socks off,” she said, then held her phone up to the microphone. It played the music of Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby,” and she sang her own lyrics.
They included, “All right stop, graduate and listen. See us back with a brand new edition. The best class to ever come on stage, lighting up the night, let them shout our names.”
She continued, the audience clapping along, and as she reached the chorus, it didn’t take the Class of 2019 long to sing along with her, “Peace out, P.C. Peace out P.C.”
“So how do you follow that?” Patrick County School Board Chairman Brandon Simmons said at the start of his address.
Superintendent William Stoufe said to the seniors of their families and the faculty, “These are countless individuals who have supported you, some whose influence is only known to you. ...
“Today concludes a significant and wonderful chapter of you life. An equally significant and wonderful chapter is about to begin.”
Angeline Godwin, president of Patrick Henry Community College, gave associate or certificate degrees to those students who successfully had completed programs, saying, “We’re very proud of you, and you’ll always be a Patriot Cougar.”
After each student marched across the stage to accept his or her degree, the Class of 2019 cheered and threw their mortarboards into the air.
Class colors are black, gold and white. The class flowers are Black-eyed Susan and red rose.
The class song is “You’re Gonna Miss This," and its motto, “Only 47 years til we are seniors again.”