Darlington High School Graduation
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Darlington County School District compressed four commencement ceremonies into one day, with more than 600 students from Darlington High School, Hartsville High School, Mayo High School for Math, Science and Technology and Lamar High School all receiving their diplomas on the morning of June 2. Graduates donned traditional robes, ribbons and mortarboards, along with 2020’s must-have accessory: face masks. With the ceremonies staged at Darlington, Hartsville and Lamar’s football stadiums, students were able to maintain social distancing, as were their families, who received tickets via lottery.
The unusual nature of the proceedings was not lost on the students, who delivered words of humor and hope to their fellow grads. “So, this isn’t how this was supposed to happen, was it? We all thought that finally, after four long years, there would be some sort of grand payoff. But alas, one sick bat had to throw everything out of place,” said DHS salutatorian Gabriel Howle. “Now look at us. Socially awkward, wearing masks of all colors and sizes, and frequently asking ourselves – do we have enough toilet paper?”
“These are unprecedented, extraordinary times we are going through,” said Mayo graduate Eli Hellmig in his message from the senior class, “and it takes extraordinary people like us to not just make it through them, but to conquer them. To not just look for the light at the end of the tunnel, but to become the light in the tunnel, to make impossible odds a thing of the past.”
“Remember to be the legacy and to achieve the greatness,” Lamar High valedictorian William Hinchcliffe advised classmates. Hartsville High valedictorian Caroline Conner said: “We are here because we pushed through every trial that we have faced.” Some 216 students graduated from Darlington High, 300 from Hartsville High, 62 from Lamar High and 64 from Mayo.