AMORY, Miss. (WTVA) -- The pandemic may have delayed graduation, but it didn’t stop it.
Seniors at Amory High School were thrilled to have the opportunity to end this chapter of their lives in person. They did just that on Thursday in the school’s auditorium. For one student and his family, it was a night they didn’t think they would get to have.
“We’re finally glad to see it, as it’s been dragged out and everything, but I know that they’ve done the best they can do,” graduating senior Jake Kimbrough said.
For his grandparents, this night was special, indeed.
“He’s our only grandson, and we’re proud of him,” Kimbrough’s grandfather Mark Tucker said.
His grandmother Angie Tucker said her family is glad to see the ceremony finally come together.
“We’ve been waiting on it, but the faculty and the principal, they have worked really, really hard on getting it together,” she said.
“He’s excited to be getting on with it, I think,” Mark Tucker said.
School leaders were waiting for a good time to have graduation when the pandemic would settle down. They decided it was best to go ahead and have it before it got too far into the new school year.
Jake Kimbrough’s father said the date kept changing for a while.
“They were worried, they kept pushing it back and changing it, but they’re going to make it happen tonight,” He said.
He added that this ceremony is giving his son closure.
“He wanted to go back to school and finish it with all of his friends and his buddies and everything, but this is a little bit of winding it down for him,” he said.
For the ceremony, graduates and families waited in their cars and tuned their radios to 87.9. when they heard their names, they went to the door and waited.
One group at a time, families and their graduates entered the auditorium. Families got to see their seniors walk across the stage to get their diplomas and celebrate their big day. When that graduate and family exited out the opposite side of the auditorium, another came in.
Kimbrough said his friends are all excited to be moving on now.
“We’ve been talking about it, and everybody’s just as anxious and ready to go on to the next chapter.”
Kimbrough got a fishing scholarship to Blue Mountain College. He’s with the Youth Anglers.
“Go Blue Mountain," he said with a laugh.
Valedictorian Emily McFatter said she’s grateful the class had this final night together.
“It means so much. I truly didn’t think we’d get a graduation night, but I’m so glad we’re here,” she said.
Organizers said 90 students graduated at Amory High on Thursday. Organizers separated students into three time slots, with 30 students graduating at 6:00 P.M., 30 graduating at 7:00, and the last 30 graduating at 8:00.