The Rocket Flame

JBHS Graduation 2020

Graduation for the Class of 2020 was anything but ordinary. The class spent their final months of high school at home and away from their classmates. Although everyone hoped that we would be back in school and back to normal life in time for graduation, that was not the case and the school had to find alternative ways to honor the years’ seniors and their accomplishments. 

“I did not think we would get here. I was not sure if we would ever get to this point… it took a lot of work to get here” says Mr.Chip Dickey (Principal).

The administrators of the district had to work night and day to assure that the 2020 graduates would not be let down and that they would get the recognition they deserved.

“None of us will ever forget March 13th, 2020; the day when all our expectations and plans for the school year were put on hold. We had to reimagine our year and how we go about this thing called school. This year, more than any other, has been about the importance of innovation, collaboration, perseverance, patience, and work as a team. It wasn’t always perfect but all of us, no matter what our role, students, parents, teachers, and staff rose to the challenge, and pushed through to the finish of what certainly would go down as one of, if not the most challenging school year of our lives, “ says Dickey.

The ending of the year threw everyone for a loophole, and left everyone changing plans and working to solve problems.

“Two graduation ceremonies were held this past summer.  The first was a “Graduation Parade” where each student arrived in a vehicle with family members, accepted their diploma, walked inside the building for a professional photo taken in front of their Class Gift and the JB Rockets and received a Class of 2020 Graduation yard sign. The second ceremony more closely resembled a traditional graduation ceremony.  Each student was seated with 2 adults of their choosing who were permitted to escort the student to the stage so the student could receive his or her diploma,” said class advisors Ms. Beeler and Mrs. Rife.

Not every graduate attended both ceremonies, but each ceremony allowed the graduate to receive their diploma with their friends and families watching.

“Most especially though we didn’t expect for us to not be able to break it down one last time on the dance floor for our senior prom, or to have our last moments with each other cut short. We thought the musical would go on, the class trip would endure, and that our graduation ceremony would be a bit more normal than it has been,” says Valedictorian Sarah Kimmel.

The class had no idea that they would never get to experience some of the simple things that they looked forward to most throughout their years in high school.

“My graduation impacted my view on high school by teaching me to never take anything for granted and that everything can change in the blink of an eye. I realized I shouldn’t have complained about waking up and going to the class I hated or complained about how I just wanted to be done as soon as possible,” says 2020 graduate Mallory Peck.

The pandemic changed the views of many people, but affected students directly because of the loss of all the things they took for granted such as Prom, sports, extracurriculars and graduation.

“When I realized that I would not be returning to the school for the remainder of the year, my initial reaction was what was going to happen to all the extracurricular activities that I was involved in. All the work and time I spent into these activities was all of a sudden put to a halt. Even though I did not know what would happen to these events that I looked forward to all year, I knew that we would all adapt and come together to overcome these difficulties,” said an anonymous 2020 graduate. 

Every person throughout the school district was impacted by the spring school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but seniors had a special moment in their life taken away from them. Despite those losses, our district managed to pull through with new innovative ideas to honor the seniors. Although not every loss was made up for, the work that the James Buchanan High School put in for the 2020 graduates left everyone feeling grateful.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder Trailer Video

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A Community of Sound

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Every year there is a group of band students that assemble to participate in County Band, a music festival that encompasses the talent of students from a variety of schools in Franklin County. These students gather at a different school in the county each year to perform a variety of songs together. This year, this music festival was held at Central Fulton in McConnellsburg, PA. 

The former band director of Southern Fulton is directing the challenging and fun pieces of music for County Band this year, and the students have a variety of musicality levels they will be performing in multiple pieces.

“They have some tough pieces. They have ‘Three Ayers’ and they have ‘Military Selection,’” Mrs. Sheryl Deike (Faculty) said. “That is a tough piece, but not as tough as it is fast. There are some tough pieces, but then they have some mellow ones. They have ‘Hymnsong that we played last year in our concert band and the kids really liked that one.”’

Only a few select kids from James Buchanan get to go to County Band, but these kids earn the privilege to be part of this festival. 

“15 students are going. The major determining factor for those participating in County Band are those who put forth the effort to audition and go out for District Band,” said Deike.

The band directors from the different schools feel honored and privileged to have talented kids that have the opportunity to go to a festival like this.

“I feel very proud. I am always excited to show off my kids,” said Deike.

The students are very excited to participate in this festival, and the band directors, as well as the students, look forward to this time of year when they get to play with a new group of students they don’t get to play with on a daily basis.

“I really enjoy these festivals. It is fun to kind of get away and take the kids away and enjoy the time together,” said Deike.  “Hearing the kids come together and the sound. When you put your best in and all of them come together and just knowing we are all a community.”

Deike loves hearing the music that comes together after hard work to participate in a festival like County Band, so she works with these kids daily to make them the best musicians they can be and enjoys the time she spends with her kids every day.

“The kids and making music with the kids are my favorite part of being the Band Director at James Buchanan High School,” says Dieke.

 

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Madalyn Akers