All four Ascension Parish public high schools held graduation ceremonies during the last week of May.
Each school took precautions, such as wearing masks and social distancing throughout the ceremonies, to ensure safety due to the coronavirus pandemic.
EATEL provided video coverage of the events. The graduation ceremonies are available for viewing via YouTube.
St. Amant High School’s ceremony was May 27 at The Pit.
St. Amant Principal Beth Templet and Ascension Parish Schools Superintendent David Alexander delivered the opening remarks.
“We are honored to have you join us on this momentous occasion as we finally get to celebrate this class,” Templet said.
Templet also took a moment to recognize all of the “unsung heroes” who have been essential during the pandemic. She said the crisis has shown how important they are.
Salutatorian Catherine Rhonda North and Valedictorian Josie DuBois followed with their speeches.
DuBois recalled the class’ first year in high school, which was during the flood of 2016.
“We will come out on the other side stronger and more prepared for the new adventures that await us,” DuBois said. “Congratulations, senior class of 2020. We made it.”
Connor Jason Adams delivered the closing remarks.
“Class dismissed,” he exclaimed to cheers from the graduates.
East Ascension High School held its ceremony May 28 at Spartan Stadium in Gonzales.
East Ascension Principal Traci McCorkle opened by recognizing medical professionals, first responders, firefighters, military, and law enforcement officers.
“This is a special class with some amazing students in it. I'm so rejoiced in watching you grow over the last four years,” McCorkle said.
“This year, in particular, has been one none of us will ever forget,” she added.
McCorkle said the class has been “flexible, resilient, resourceful, and positive” throughout challenging times.
Salutatorian Sadie Noble and Valedictorian Emma Cockrum both delivered addresses.
“We didn’t realize the impact that the events of Friday, March 13 would have on our lives and those around us,” Cockrum said. “Who knew that a trip to Walmart for toilet paper and Germ-X would become such a challenge.”
Dutchtown High School held its ceremony May 29 inside the stadium in Geismar.
Salutatorians Kennedy Ann Marie Tabor and Lauren Nicole Montgomery led the Pledge of Allegiance and invocation, respectively.
Dutchtown Principal Carli Francois asked the students to “take a moment to ponder all that has brought you to this point.”
This was the largest graduating class in Dutchtown’s history, Francois said. A total of 582 graduates were in the class.
Francois compared the students to surfers who “keep getting back up” even after waves knock them down.
Assistant Superintendent A. Denise Graves represented the district’s administration in serving as guest speaker.
Valedictorian Abby Marie Talbot said her classmates’ high school years “didn’t go exactly as planned.”
“I think the Class of 2020 is exceptionally strong and knows how to persist in the face of challenges,” Talbot said. “I have no doubt that every graduate here will find a way to succeed and make their own paths in what they are passionate about.”
Donaldsonville High School held commencement May 29 at Floyd Boutte Memorial Stadium.
Donaldsonville Principal Marvin Evans said one of the core values of the district is “team work.”
He recognized the members of the team who come together to serve students.
Salutatorian Troy'el Comeaux and Valedictorian Laura Gutierrez both gave speeches.
“I can honestly say, from the bottom of my heart, you have become my family,” Gutierrez said to her classmates.
“Our new journey of a million miles will begin with these few steps across this stage,” she said.
Ascension Parish’s private schools, Ascension Catholic and Ascension Christian, also honored graduates.
Ascension Christian Salutatorian Camille Cancienne and Valedictorian Hayden Cashat both spoke during their school’s ceremony.
Cashat recalled the many ways his class “rose to the occasion.”
“Always push to do your best, and be your best,” Cashat said.
Ascension Catholic previously held a virtual graduation consisting of pre-recorded videos. The finished video showed all 30 graduates receiving their diplomas at their homes. Faculty members assisted Principal Sandy Pizzolato with the deliveries.
Salutatorian Sam Mire and Valedictorians Katie Pizzolato, Payton Hatcher, and Brock Acosta each delivered addresses during the ceremony.