Graduation 02

Savannah Tysver rides in the back seat of a pickup truck with her dog during the graduation ceremony at Amherst County High School.

A thank-you to the schools, community for a memorable graduation 

To my community and Amherst County Public Schools, Amherst County High School's commencement ceremony exceeded all of our expectations. I am incredibly grateful for the help in preparation for May 23. Not only did we celebrate our seniors in a major way but I believe we changed the perception of education in Amherst.

When I first arrived here as principal we had a lot of discussions about our school’s identity and what we want to be known for as a school. Through my one-on-one meetings with all of you during the summer it was very clear that the focus of our schools' reputation should be all about our amazing kids and our community.

Because of your passion throughout the year and the work that all of you have done since we have closed (the lessons, the online support, the phone calls), the relationships you strengthened during this time, and the care you have shown our kids, public perception has shifted in a major way. I am so encouraged because as I read posts on social media the recurring theme that I saw was Amherst pride.

One post even said “it’s been a long time since I’ve been this proud of my community and school… But our schools and community are absolutely amazing!” Because of your positive attitudes and diligence during this closure, parents and our community have a newfound respect and appreciation for Amherst County Public Schools. The old adage goes, “people don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.” Well, our community definitely knows that we care, and others are looking to us for leadership and guidance. I’m so proud to be a small part of what we are building here in Amherst County.

Commencement in Cars was no small feat and it wouldn’t have been possible without a lot of help. I have to thank our amazing Superintendent, Dr. Rob Arnold, for casting such a great vision to be student-centered and create life-ready learners. Our community is incredibly important to him and it shows in major ways. Thank you to Dr. Norman, Mrs. Crouch, and Dr. Wells for all the encouragement and support all along the way.

Thank you to the Amherst County School Board for being so supportive and trusting throughout this process. To all the principals and central office staff, there is no way we could have been as organized as we were without you. You guys really made things run smoothly!

Mr. Wayne Cocke, our custodians, and our grounds/maintenance team had our campus looking like a 5-star resort. Your efforts were noticed by all! We would not have done this safely without the help from our school resource officers, the Amherst County Sheriff's Department, and Amherst Town Police. Thank you all for going above and beyond to help our students!

Literally thousands wouldn’t have been able to see our graduation without Mike Cargill and his amazing tech club. The production company said they have never seen such an advanced high school program. To Naomi Giles, your social media support has been incredible! Thank you Joe Goldman for making sure the internet was up and running for the entire ceremony. I’m so incredibly proud of the work your team did on top of everything else you guys have going on!

The photography by Malcolm Johnson, Hope Stevens, and Tami and Carly Brooks was amazing and captured a lot of memories! Thank you to our community partners: Jostens, McBride Signs, New Life Landscaping, K92, WLNI radio, WSET, WSLS, New Era-Progress, News & Advance, Sara Carter and the Town of Amherst, and Katie Mayo and the Amherst Chamber of Commerce for providing so much support, love, and resources to make this day really special for our seniors.

Thank you to all our teachers and central office staff for standing in the pouring rain for three hours for rehearsal! Thank you to our counselors for helping organize the diplomas, cords, and awards. Thank you to all teachers, instructional assistants, and staff who helped behind the scenes and showed up to support our graduates. Ms. Peters you are so awesome for driving two graduates and their mom and decorating the van!

Finally, I have to say that our administration team is the best around. Mr. McBride, Ms. Terry, Mr. White, Mrs. Saunders, Mr. Curd, and Mr. Crawford, you all have done so much behind the scenes, and your relentless efforts made this possible!

This is an event that will be remembered for a long time here in Amherst. Our community and love for our kids are what make us different. I can not thank you all enough for making this an amazing memory for our seniors and Amherst as a whole! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Aaaannnnddddd GO LANCERS!


Principal, Amherst County High School

A questionable mask selection  

Really, [Liberty University President] Jerry Falwell, Jr.! 

Once again you risen to the occasion regarding poor decisions. You are in a position to set a positive example for your many students at LU and yet here you are again falling short.

Your face mask selection and accompanying tweet shows your insensitivity to keeping family, friends, and community safe and your inability to forgive others for their past mistakes. There is no doubting that your politics and the poor example your president has set regarding his use of a mask have influenced your mask selection and the message in your tweet.

Remember that you may be a university president but you are not a physician. Jesus led by being a positive example, showing compassion and forgiveness and doing no harm ... something and someone we should all believe in. 



Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.