POWERS — A first in its school history, Powers High School hosted a drive-in graduation ceremony Saturday to celebrate the graduating class of 2020.
With traditional graduation festivities off the table due to the new coronavirus pandemic, seniors and their families attended in this year’s commencement ceremony by parking and staying inside their vehicles.
Like a drive-in theater, folks were able to watch the outdoor ceremony from the privacy of their cars, which were parked in the front of the school building, according to Powers School District Superintendent Matt Shorb.
With a senior class of five students, Shorb said he thought the drive-in ceremony seemed to be the best fit for seniors and their families. Each student was allowed to invite up to six vehicles to the ceremony, he added.
This year’s graduating class, which was faced with a number of changes and cancellations due to the new coronavirus, really showcased their strength and resilience, said Shorb.
“I think anytime you face adversity in life it allows you the opportunity to demonstrate your resilience,” said Shorb. “The class of 2020 has had ample opportunity to demonstrate their resilience and they’ve been through more as a graduating class than any other graduating class that I have been a part and with that comes experience and toughness. They’ll be able to use that to their benefit moving forward.”
A student who demonstrated his resiliency by pushing through this year’s challenges was 18-year-old David Pedrick, who was named the valedictorian for the class of 2020.
In his speech on Saturday, Pedrick, a student athlete, said he reminded his fellow classmates to join him in pushing beyond their frustrations and disappointment with how their senior year ended because of the pandemic.
The Powers high school class of 2020 will go on to do great things and will continue to overcome challenges, he said. Next fall, Pedrick said he plans to attend Oregon State University where he will participate in its U.S. Air Force ROTC program and study chemistry.
Pedrick, who was awarded a scholarship under the program, said he hopes to one day become an Air Force pilot and eventually an astronaut. His grandfather, Don, an Air Force veteran, is among the people he said inspires him to do his best and succeed.
Throughout his high school career, Pedrick has been on the football, basketball, cross-country and track teams. For his junior year, he was also elected class president.
“I’m excited to get to what’s new,” said Pedrick.
The Powers High School Class of 2020 also included salutatorian Maria Cano, Jeremiah Beagle, Hayden Kamakele and Hailee McKnight.