PATRICK COUNTY, VA – Patrick County High School seniors were honored with a surprise celebration on Wednesday.
Students were invited to the school to pick up their caps and gowns, but the celebration of parents and teachers cheering them on was a surprise.
“It was really exciting. That was all I thought it was going to be was the posters at the start of the driveway, but then you come up here and everybody is blowing bubbles at you and clapping. It's nice,” senior Sydney Wilson said.
The driveway lined with signs of each of the 141 graduates was also a surprise.
“Very uplifting. It makes me feel very good, especially knowing that we are the only county or school that is doing this. It just let's us know that we are cared about,” Lincoln Rose, class president stated.
Nearly all of the senior events have been canceled because of COVID-19, so the school wanted to honor students as they finish their final weeks of school at home.
“It is our 50th anniversary. We were supposed to do something in April with the 50th year for the community and we had to postpone that. It's been a lot of stuff that's been put on hold,” Ashlee Mullis, teacher and class sponsor explained.
During the event, gifts from local businesses were also given out.
Parents say the past few weeks have been emotional.
“My son is a senior. Baseball player. This is the best memories that they should be able to have. He's been a little bit down in the dumps. Not being able to be with his friends. Baseball, but we've tired to encourage him,” Angela Rose, who is Lincoln's mother and class sponsor, said while holding back tears.
The students say they will miss their senior year experiences.
“Probably the sports. I cheered and did tennis and unfortunately, I didn't get to have my first match, which was when we came back from spring break,” said class vice president Joelle Holderman.
The school plans to have a graduation ceremony once the virus mandates are lifted.
“Everything. Seeing the last game of whatever season it is or talking to my friends. I am not the social butterfly whatsoever, so the small group of friends that I do have, it's going to be difficult not talking to them everyday,” senior Lepryce Reynolds said.