The Tahlequah High School Class of 2020 will have many stories to tell from their senior year. While they may not be ones of senior trips, the last state championship games, or fun-filled final days in school, Friday night brought them an in-person graduation ceremony at Doc Wadley Stadium.

Together again - with masks and social distancing - months after the COVID-19 pandemic closed school buildings, these forever Tahlequah Tigers now have some closure to move on to the next phase of life.

"It truly took a village to make this graduation happen," said Lacie Wilson, current THS principal. "It's an honor to be out there with them. They've been amazing. They've been patient, and the families have been patient."

With prom, baccalaureate, graduation, and parties postponed, the senior class had to rally to have some normality. The graduates had picked up their diplomas and other items earlier in the week.

After the Pledge of Allegiance, a recording of the THS Jazz Choir singing the "The Star-Spangled Banner" was played. The members had individually recorded themselves, then the tracks were put together as one.

Former Principal Vicki Bush introduced the Top 3 percent of the class, who were sitting near the stage, and then three speeches were given: Isha Gandhi, valedictorian; James Maxwell, class president; and Maggie Reasor, student council president.

Bush introduced the Tahlequah Public Schools Board of Education, and Superintendent Leon Ashlock commended the students and accepted them as graduates.

Each student then came forward as their name was called, some causing family to cheer, ring cow bells, or blow horns.

Many of the graduates would go on after the ceremony to the final event of their high school career: the Save A Senior after party at a water park in Tulsa.

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