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GBHS Class of 2020
Bayle Sandy, valedictorian
Bayle Sandy, valedictorian

Notes on Great Bend High School's 133rd annual commencement. The Class of 2020 was presented at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 27, during a ceremony at Memorial Stadium.

Several students decorated their mortarboards to note where they will go next or with other adornments. The wording in Spanish on one graduate’s mortarboard started with a message that translates, “Mom and grandparents thank you for your sacrifices, support and love. This diploma is from (unclear).

Salutatorian Chloe Jeanette Gibson told her fellow graduates, “take time to breathe ... what is more important – happiness or perfection?”

Bayle Jolene Sandy is proof that dreams can come true with hard work. Since she was a little girl, she said her goal was to be valedictorian of her high school class. She achieved that goal and spoke at Saturday’s Great Bend High School commencement.

“It’s safe to say our generation is graduating into a world with profound challenges,” Sandy said. “We can be the change that our world needs.”

School board members and administrators did not shake hands with the graduates, who were seat 6 feet apart. Principal Tim Friess congratulated the 221 seniors. He quoted several excerpts from “the best-selling book of all time” and its main character who was “perfect in every way.” The main character said, “the time is coming and in fact has come, when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

The bleachers on the west side of Memorial Stadium were packed, but there was room on the sidelines or in the east-side seating for social distancing. For graduates, social distancing mostly ended at the conclusion of the ceremony.