RICHMOND, Va. -- High school graduations kicked of Monday morning at Virginia Commonwealth University's Siegel Center for the first time since 2019.
The pandemic forced Central Virginia school districts to hold ceremonies at different locations over the past two years, but Clover Hill High School seniors and their family members were excited to mark the big day in the large auditorium.
"My nephew and my niece had to graduate via Zoom, but I’m excited we get to see it today and cheer her on," said Karla Bray, who watched her niece cross the stage Monday. "The whole family is here to celebrate this moment."
A major focus of the Clover Hill ceremony was reflecting on how much the Class of 2022 has had to overcome the past two years. School and county leaders noted these grads have truly learned how to make the best of difficult times.
"While the pandemic provides the backdrop for your high school experience, it certainly doesn’t define it," said principal John Phillips. "Your resilience, your empathy your commitment to moving forward individually and collectively despite all obstacles, that’s your story, that’s your legacy."
Superintendent Dr. Mervin Daugherty encouraged the graduates to always respect others, to be a person of integrity, to ask the right questions and to be happy.
As students gave their speeches, they thanked their teachers who have adjusted to so many changes over the past two years to ensure they made it to this day.
There are two other Chesterfield graduations scheduled Monday—Monacan and Midlothian high schools. And others are planned over the next few days.
Officials said drivers in Downtown Richmond should anticipate heavy traffic
VCU police and Richmond Police will be directing traffic at more than a dozen intersections, including near Belvidere Street off I-95 and along Belvidere and Broad streets west to Lombardy Street.