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Meet the Class of 2020 – Vol. 3

Seniors across Lawrence County were set to take part in the traditional end-of-year activities, like prom and spring sports, and were making plans for their graduation ceremonies when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and Gov. Mike DeWine was forced to close Ohio schools for the remainder of the year.

School districts have worked to give the Class of 2020 some sort of graduation, whether it is through drive-through ceremonies, virtual graduations or delaying the event until mass gatherings are allowed.

The community has come together to show their support for these graduating seniors.

At The Tribune, we wanted to expand our graduation coverage to honor them as well. We asked each high school in the county to select a few seniors for this feature, whether it is one with top honors or someone with an interesting story or something to say.

We salute the Class of 2020 and their strong spirit and know that a bright future awaits them.

Check out our graduation special section in Saturday’s edition of the Tribune.

 

Gabriel Barcus
School: Rock Hill High School
Honors/extracurricular activities in school: Honor Society, band, coffee shop worker, senior class vice president
Hobbies/groups/organizations outside of school: I’m involved with the youth group, but my hobbies are hanging with friends and video games.
What is your favorite memory of high school?: I love spirit days, where everyone gets super loud and excited. They’re always a lot of fun.
What are your plans beyond high school, as far as further education/career choice?: I’m going to major in Business Administration at Morehead State University.
What will you miss most about your school?: I’ll miss my friends, but the place just feels like home. I don’t know if I’ll get that anywhere else.
What is the best advice you have received from a teacher or mentor?: “Don’t let your high get too high, and don’t let your lows get too low.” — Principal Mr. Gue
With traditional graduation and end-of-school events impacted, what has this experience been like for you?: It’s been unusual, but I’m ready to move on to the next chapter of my life. I don’t like to think about it too much, because it makes me sad, but I had some good times during this quarantine, too, so it worked out alright.
What have you been doing since schools were closed in March?: Not much. I played a lot of video games with people and I have been investing money in the stock market, that boring stuff.
What support have you received from friends/family/the community as you go through this experience?: It’s been amazing. My school’s administration has been great throughout this whole process. My family and friends have been very supportive, writing cards and encouraging me.
Where would you like to be 20 years from now?: I would love to be in this same community with kids (no more than two, hopefully — haha) a wife and a successful business. Just, ultimately, I want to be happy with my life.
Other thoughts or comments about your experience: I’m glad I spent my 13 years of my scholastic career with the Rock Hill Redmen!

 

Hannah Boggs
School: Ohio Connections Academy
Honors/extracurricular activities in school: National Honor Society Honor graduate. wrote and published my first novel! Wrote my second novel, yet to be published.
Hobbies/groups/organizations outside of school: Competition dancer at Bridget’s Dance Academy.
What is your favorite memory of high school?: I would say my favorite memory of high school would be the time that I spoke at the Ohio State House for Online Learning Day, advocating for school choice.
What are your plans beyond high school, as far as further education/career choice?: I am currently enrolled at Shawnee State University, pursuing a business degree. Into the future, I’d like to continue to write novels and eventually own my own bookstore.
What will you miss most about your school?: I will miss the support given by teachers and staff. They really like to uplift and promote their students achievements.
What is the best advice you have received from a teacher or mentor?: Whatever you do, do it big.
With traditional graduation and end-of-school events impacted, what has this experience been like for you?: Was truly looking forward to a prom experience, but had to settle for a photo shoot in my dress.
What have you been doing since schools were closed in March?: I completed all my high school graduation requirements in December, so I went ahead and enrolled online with Shawnee State University for the Spring Semester. Life has been business as usual for me.
What support have you received from friends/family/the community as you go through this experience?: Everyone that I know and encounter has been extremely kind about this situation and supportive of the graduating class of 2020 in general. They’ve done everything they can to make me feel celebrated and uplift me.
Where would you like to be 20 years from now?: I’d like to be a somewhat successful business owner, and have many more of my books out for the public to read and hopefully enjoy.

 

Collin Freeman
School: Ironton High School
Honors/extracurricular activities in school: National Honor Society, German Honor Society, ASB Boy Representative for the 2020 class for three years, football captain, basketball captain and baseball captain.
Hobbies/groups/organizations outside of school: Playing paintball with my friends.
What is your favorite memory of high school?: Winning the first regional title for the school in 20 years or chemistry class.
What are your plans beyond high school, as far as further education/career choice?: I committed to play football at the College of Wooster and will major in Business and Communications.
What will you miss most about your school?: Running out of the tunnel on Fridays.
What is the best advice you have received from a teacher or mentor?: Take in every moment and don’t dread the bad in the past.
With traditional graduation and end-of-school events impacted, what has this experience been like for you?: It’s been different, but the teachers and faculty have made it possible for us to graduate.
What have you been doing since schools were closed in March?: Working out for college, video games, homework and playing paintball.
What support have you received from friends/family/the community as you go through this experience?: Everyone is just trying to look at the positive during all of this.
Where would you like to be 20 years from now?: Owning my own business here in Ironton.
Other thoughts or comments about your experience: It has been one heck of a ride and I wish everyone in my class the best of luck in the future!

 

Brittany Hackworth
School: Open Door School
Honors/extracurricular activities in school: Cheerleading and Bell Choir.
Hobbies/groups/organizations outside of school: Watching TV and hanging out with family.
What is your favorite memory of high school?: Going to prom.
What are your plans beyond high school, as far as further education/career choice?: Working for the I Believe Foundation.
What will you miss most about your school?: I will miss my friends, teachers, Mrs. Patton and Katie.
What is the best advice you have received from a teacher or mentor?: Always smile.
What have you been doing since schools were closed in March?: I have been spending time with my family and staying safe.
What support have you received from friends/family/the community as you go through this experience?: My teachers have called and checked on me and my family several times, and made sure we didn’t need anything. My teachers have called and have given my mom ideas to help me with my school work.

 

TJ McGinnis
School: Rock Hill High School
Honors/extracurricular activities in school: Honor Society, football team, bowling team and track team.
Hobbies/groups/organizations outside of school: Working on my car, relaxing with friends and ghost hunting.
What is your favorite memory of high school?: Friday night lights, playing in front of a crowd.
What are your plans beyond high school, as far as further education/career choice?: I’m going to participate on Hillsdale’s track and field team and study law.
What will you miss most about your school?: My buddies
What is the best advice you have received from a teacher or mentor?: No man is rich enough to buy back his past.
With traditional graduation and end-of-school events impacted, what has this experience been like for you?: The experience has been unique and, honestly, very enjoyable.
What have you been doing since schools were closed in March?: Just pretty much sitting around, doing some work around the house and ghost hunting.
What support have you received from friends/family/the community as you go through this experience?: My parents have been extremely supportive and making sure it’s about me and not them.

 


Ryan Payne
School: Saint Joseph Catholic High School
Honors/extracurricular activities in school: Football, golf: 2nd team All Conference, soccer: 1st team All Conference, basketball: 1st team All Conference, 2nd team All District, All Ohio Honorable Mention, baseball: Honorable Mention SEO Academic Excellence Award.
Hobbies/groups/organizations outside of school: Fishing and golfing, socializing with friends.
What is your favorite memory of high school?: Playing basketball at the Convocational Center in Athens.
What are your plans beyond high school, as far as further education/career choice?: Attending Shawnee State University majoring in Business; interest in sales, management, and marketing.
What will you miss most about your school?: Friends and making memories with them during the school day.
What is the best advice you have received from a teacher or mentor?: “No one is perfect, but you can achieve excellence on the way down.”
With traditional graduation and end-of-school events impacted, what has this experience been like for you?: This experience has made me recognize that nothing is guaranteed in life. There are always going to be unexpected changes that you can learn from. 
What have you been doing since schools were closed in March?: I have been staying up late, playing cards, working, fishing and golfing.
What support have you received from friends/family/the community as you go through this experience?: My family and friends have been supportive and we have helped each other stay busy during the pandemic.
Where would you like to be 20 years from now?: Twenty years from now, I will be selling medical equipment to doctors. 

— Vol. 1 of this feature can be seen here. Vol. 2 can be seen here.