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Monterey School celebrates 2020 graduating class

NATCHEZ — Over 40 graduates walked across a stage set up in the parking lot of Monterey High School on Monday evening — but not all at once.

Monday’s commencement exercise was a bit different. Each senior sat at the end of a row of chairs filled with just their family members 6 feet in front of or behind their classmates.

Their time together on Monterey’s campus had ended unexpectedly and abruptly in March when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Andrea Gray, MHS Class of 2020 Valedictorian, encouraged her fellow seniors after they’d survived what she called “the longest skip day ever.”

“Today begins a new chapter in each of our lives as we follow our individual paths and callings,” Gray said. “… The home of the Monterey wolves is now also the home of tomorrow’s doctors and nurses, teachers and engineers, accountants and more. … Four years ago we were looking at the graduating class thinking we had all of the time in the world to enjoy high school and the next thing we knew, here we are. This lesson has hopefully taught us that life is too short to take our time for granted, especially when it comes to the year we’ve been through.”

Chase Charpentier, MHS Class of 2020 Salutatorian, said one thing he’s learned from his senior year is that no one truly knows what the future holds for them and how to be content with wherever God puts him.

“When picturing the future for me and my classmates, it’s rather strange because the picture is almost blank,” Charpentier said. “Sure, we have a basic idea of what we want our future to be but the virus outbreak has shown us that we don’t really know what is in store for us. … You know, our futures don’t hinge on our GPA because the Lord already has a plan for us. So the best thing you guys can do is pray that wherever God puts us in life, we will be content and live faithful lives.”

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