Byrnes HS students celebrate first “normal” graduation in 2 years

Students say they're proud to have made it through the COVID-19 pandemic years to get to this point, and say they're excited for the future.
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 4:07 AM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Graduation season is here, and for the first time in a long time, many high school graduates are getting to enjoy a normal ceremony.

Thursday night, students from Byrnes High School in Spartanburg District 5 walked across the the stage and tipped their caps as they celebrated reaching an incredible milestone.

The district says the ceremony at Byrnes is the first “regular” graduation they’ve had since before the pandemic--with no COVID precautions or limits on the number of loved ones who could attend.

Students we spoke to say the fact that they get to celebrate in this normal way, after having about half their high school careers dominated by the pandemic, means the world to them. They also tell us they believe going through that brought them closer together as a family in the end.

Finally, they tell us they couldn’t be more excited for the future.

“This place has given me a lot of special memories,” said student body president Todd Hardy Jr, who also spoke at the ceremony. “A lot of memories--and a lot of friends. Some of them I’ll have for the rest of my life.”

“I think the biggest thing I’m feeling right now is gratitude, because it was just a deep, dark hole for a little while, and being so young, it took up so much of our lives,” added Angela Levasseur, an honors graduate who is a top-10 GPA student.

“You have to choose to get up every day and keep fighting, and that’s exactly what we’ve done, so we should be super proud of ourselves,” she said.

Students also thanked their teachers and parents for adapting along with them, and helping steer them to this point.