BELOIT—Members of the graduating class at Beloit Memorial High School were reminded that they, probably more than any other graduating class, face challenges and uncertainty as they go out into the world. But, the knowledge and experiences they gain in school will carry them through into the future.

A virtual graduation ceremony was held for the Beloit Memorial High School Class of 2020 on Saturday, as speakers and class members gave presentations online instead of in person, due to the health concerns presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mia Ward, BMHS graduating class president, said even though the school year was cut short by the pandemic, that did not erase the years of education and friendship she gained during her education in Beloit. She said those years taught her to be a strong, independent woman.

“It allowed me to grow long term friends who will support me throughout anything,” she said.

National Honor Society president Audrey McManigle said she and many in her class can’t help but feel a little disappointed by all the things they missed due to the pandemic, including an in-person graduation ceremony. However, she encouraged her fellow graduates to not be negative, and move forward with the strengths they gained from their experiences.

“Devisiveness is the bad energy that harms growth and success in our lives. So, I am extremely thankful for the enduring sense of special cammaraderie I have shared with all of you,” she said.

BMHS Principal Emily Pelz said the graduates have gained strength from their experiences and they should be proud of their accomplishments and not dwell on the last few months of their senior year.

“If there is a generation of individuals who can lead a changing world, it is you. This is a new beginning for you and though your time in high school has come to an abrupt close, the knowledge and experiences you have gained here will only help you in the future,” Pelz said.

School District of Beloit Interim Superintendent Sue Green said though it is heart breaking the way the senior year ended for the graduates, they can grow from the experience.

“You have the ability to endure, to be strong when things feel disappointing and somewhat unknown,” she said.

Kyle Larsen, School District of Beloit Board of Education President, said the members of the graduating class should always remember their potential.

“It’s important for you to know, you are our community’s most prized possession. You are our most valuable commodity,” he said.