Boonville High School Class of 2020 says final goodbyes with graduation

Charles Dunlap
Members of the Boonville High School Class of 2020 took part in a commencement ceremony Friday at the school's football field. The ceremony was pared down from what usually takes place due to limitations associated with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 100 members of the Boonville High School Class of 2020 received diplomas Friday in a commencement ceremony that focused on celebration amid uncertainty.

Originally scheduled last month, the Boonville school board opted for a June ceremony instead due to ongoing concerns over COVID-19. Students were seated apart from each other on the football field track and their entrances were spaced out as well to maintain social distancing.

While the ceremony did not have as many speakers as usual, students still were able to receive some last-minute advice from English teacher Jody Goodman.

“What do you need to know while I have this one last chance to give you some knowledge to take with you in your life,” he said.

Goodman felt honored to be the person to address the Class of 2020. He wants students to be present and engage in life so they do not miss out on any of life’s opportunities.

"Try and be indispensable to your employer, to your significant other, your team, your platoon, your community and, most importantly, your friends and family,“ he said. ”Be a rock set so firmly in place that no one can kick it aside.“

He also wants his students to be invested in whatever they do, not matter how small the task, because that shows others how much they care.

“Do it in a way that you can be proud of and so that no one can undermine your efforts,” Goodman said.

Students should get out of their own comfort zones to experience new ideas, which makes life more fun, he said.

“You will thrive if you can do this,” he said.

If students remain open to new ideas, they will flourish, be remembered and recognized, he said. Using the analogy of Athens and Sparta, Goodman said one city still is thriving and recognizable because it was open to new ideas so many years ago, while the other was insular and now even is hard to find on a map.

“History and geopolitics are a lot more complicated than a metaphor,” he said. “My point is this, be like Athens. Be open to new ideas. It will help you become a more well-rounded person and withstand the test of time. Be clear about what you want and what you expect of others.”

While the last half of the school year was eventful and somewhat fearful, it will pass, Goodman said.

“As a former history teacher, I know how fast America can get back to normal,” he said. “You might not believe me right now, but I wish you would because it might save you some regrets later. Don’t be scared to do big things.”

Diplomas were presented by school board president Charles Melkersman to graduates, while their end-of-year awards and scholarships were read. Closing remarks were delivered by the senior class officers.