North Augusta High School’s graduating seniors’ last year of high school was different, to say the least, including Thursday’s graduation.

The class of 2020 sat 6 feet apart, spanning around half the field at Jacket Stadium, in front of their friends and family to graduate.

Valedictorian Brayden Poorvin said the graduation on the field is pretty different than usual – in past years, graduation for the county's public high schools was held at the USC Aiken Convocation Center.

During his speech, he mentioned the graduation location.

“If I’m correct, and this is about being memorable, then what better place to be than Jacket Stadium? I mean seriously, besides Cook-Out and the Circle K parking lot, what place has more memories than right here?” Poorvin asked.

He said what makes the high school special is the people.

“Being able to have the freedom to do what you want to do and be supported by whatever cluster of people you happen to be with,” Poorvin said.

Poorvin is headed south for college, planning to attend Florida State University and major in business administration.

Barret Smoker, salutatorian, said the graduation is the biggest difference the class of 2020 has had to face, also mentioning that the senior breakfast and senior prom were both canceled.

The annual senior awards night, during which a long list of recognitions and scholarships are awarded, also was canceled but the school produced a 16-plus minute long video about the awards.

“Honestly, I don’t think there was a better school in this area, in the whole CSRA, in terms of just getting you the best opportunities as possible and the community around you,” Smoker said, adding all the teachers and administrators are great. Smoker is headed to Columbia to attend the University of South Carolina and major in public health. 

North Augusta High Principal John Murphy said he was sorry the students haven’t been able to do usual things such as prom and college decision day but added it was really great to see the students since they haven’t seen them since March.

The students received their diplomas from Murphy on the 50-yard line, right in the middle of the big “NA” logo.

The principal’s advice to the students?

“Our legendary physician Dr. Curly Watson said there’s a few simple rules to live by,” Murphy said. “Be a lady, be a gentleman, never give up, and always try your best, and remember there’s room at the top.”

Follow Lindsey on Twitter at @LindseyNHodges. Subscribing to the Aiken Standard will give you access to all the Aiken County news your need. Click here to sign up. 

Lindsey is the North Augusta reporter at the Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star. She graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2017, and grew up in Hodges, SC.