Members of Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School’s Class of 2020 walked across the stage Sunday, August 9, in a socially distanced outdoor graduation ceremony. It was one of the last high school graduations to be held in Northeast Georgia after being delayed by the coronavirus.
Rabun Gap’s graduates hail from across the nation and globe, representing 20 countries and eight U.S. states.
The Rev. David C. Brown gave the baccalaureate speech with a challenge for the graduates to use the perspective gained during the pandemic to see the world with “2020 vision” and make a difference. Nathan Williams of Dominica was the student speaker and focused his remarks on inspiring students to be authentic and chart your own course to redefine what it means to be the best. Anna Catharine McMullen of Highlands, North Carolina, was named valedictorian with the highest GPA in the class. She will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Addressing the graduates, Head of School Jeff Miles said, “Class of 2020, we are bound together in a way that I will always treasure and never forget. Your final year was my first, and I will be forever grateful to you for your leadership, your talent, your humor, your humility, and most importantly your adaptability. I could not have asked for more. Your leadership as a class has been remarkable, and despite the interruption that hijacked the spring of your senior year, you set a bar against which all future senior classes will be measured.”
Sarah Futral of Highlands, North Carolina, and John Bonney of Brooklyn, New York, received The Crystal Eagle Award, the highest award given to Rabun Gap seniors, honoring outstanding service in campus and community life.
Senior class president Matthew Campbell of Highlands delivered the Prayers of the Class of 2020 and was thanked for his leadership that kept the class together during the spring. Chaplain Mary Demmler gave the scripture reading from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
“It was gratifying to see the Class of 2020 return to campus for a safe in-person graduation,” said Miles. “The joy and excitement of each graduate was overwhelming and so deserved.
In addition to receiving their diplomas, the school honored the graduates with the newest addition to its campus, the Class of 2020 Tribute Wall. The wall, Miles said, honors the Class of 2020 for their “resilience and remarkable leadership for years to come.”
The Class of 2020 Tribute Wall includes bronze plaques listing every member of the graduating class and is located alongside the bronze statues of the school’s founders, Andrew Jackson Ritchie and Addie Corn Ritchie.