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Watch Now: Campbell County celebrates 2021 graduates over two days
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Watch Now: Campbell County celebrates 2021 graduates over two days

Campbell County celebrated the accomplishments of its high schools’ Classes of 2021 during four commencement ceremonies this week at Liberty University’s Williams Stadium.

While this graduating class missed out on several milestones after the COVID-19 pandemic sent them home in March of their junior year and hybrid learning cost them a traditional senior year, there were only smiles Thursday and Friday as they celebrated together and finally walked across the stage to receive their diplomas.

Brookville High School and Altavista High School held their graduations Thursday, graduating more than 200 and 90 students, respectively.

Brookville High School Principal Thomas Cole kept his advice to the graduating seniors short.

“Aim high, and get on with it,” Cole said.

Cole is retiring this year after 36 years with Campbell County Public Schools, nine of which were as principal at Brookville.

Jenny Ham was recognized as Brookville High School’s valedictorian for the Class of 2021. Hana Floge was recognized as the salutatorian.

Altavista’s valedictorian, Savanna Hundley, said she did not want to dwell on what the pandemic took from this year’s seniors and instead reflected on some of the class’s best memories while at the school.

Singing “Country Roads” in the student section at football games, painting orange and black handprints on T-shirts and a senior prank water balloon fight were some of her favorites.

Hundley recalled Altavista faculty member John Grzenda telling her, “Savanna, these are your people. You may leave here, but these will always be your people.”

“After today, we will go our separate ways,” she said. “Some to college, some to trade school, some to the military and some into the workforce, but we will always belong to No. 1 Colonel Country.”

Chase Lavinder was recognized as Altavista’s 2021 salutatorian.

At Rustburg High School’s Friday-morning commencement ceremony, principal Amy Hale encouraged the Class of 2021 Red Devils to face their challenges head on and look at them as opportunities.

“My dear students, you have everything it takes to make it in this world,” she said. “Why? Because you are from Rustburg.”

Hale said Rustburg’s nearly 200 graduates have collectively earned almost $2 million in scholarship money. Haleigh Earsing was recognized as Rustburg’s 2021 valedictorian, and Ashleigh Lovelace was the class’ salutatorian.

Friday afternoon, William Campbell Combined School’s more than 60 graduates took the field at Williams Stadium to become the school’s newest alumni. They were joined by a special guest — the school’s mascot, a general.

Jonnah Williams, the senior class president, congratulated her fellow classmates on accomplishing so much amid such adversity.

“One thing is for sure: the Class of 2021 doesn’t break when things get hard,” she said. “We persevered and made the most of a very hard senior year.”

William Campbell recognized two students who tied for salutatorian for the Class of 2021: Jodi Pool and Craig Yoder. Daniel Isaacs was recognized as the Class of 2021 valedictorian.

“One thing is for sure: the Class of 2021 doesn’t break when things get hard. We persevered and made the most of a very hard senior year.”     

 — Jonnah Williams, senior class president at William Campbell Combined School

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Education reporter

Cross covers K-12 and higher education for The News & Advance. An Asheboro, North Carolina native, Cross joined The News & Advance team in January 2020 after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in journalism.

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