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Presenting the Hampton Class of 2020… Hampton commencement marks second county school to graduate

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
There was no doubt where the Hampton Bulldogs were on Thursday night as the Senior Class of 2020 moved the ‘Dog Pound from Hampton High School to the Stateline Drive-In for the second graduation to occur at the facility this week with two more slated for next week.
And even though the Class of 2020 couldn’t meet one last time inside VanHuss-White Gym to mark their graduation, one couldn’t tell by all the laughter, smiles, hoots, and horns blowing as the senior class made their way across the stage to receive their diploma from their school principal, Jeff Bradley.
Prior to presenting the graduating class, Bradley shared with those in attendance how he had sat down at his desk numerous times to write his speech for the event but each time he found himself only typing five or six lines and then erasing the lines leaving only the header.
So Bradley instead shared with the students the unusual school year that started off on a great note with the football team and Homecoming which Bradley admitted was one of his favorite times seeing the students dressing up and having a great time.
He spoke about the success of the golf team and the soccer team winning their first match and how softball had a new coach getting just a few games into the season before the COVID-19 changed everything.
It was also during that time that the baseball team was off to one of it’s best starts in school history and made history playing under the lights for the first time in over 50 years.
But then he spoke about a group of young men that when he first saw them in the gym as freshmen, he knew that from that point they were going to be a special group.
That group was the Hampton boys basketball team who had a goal of making it to state in their senior year and had worked hard to accomplish that goal only to be left without the opportunity due to the abrupt change to the school year.
Everyone in Hampton has crowned the team state champions until it’s proven otherwise.
Senior Class President Andrew Smith then correlated in his speech how the trying time of losing his mother just before the school year began and how she inspired him to push forward through tough times corresponded to how the class as a whole had done so through a trying final year of school.
Finally, it was time.
Time for the Hampton Senior Class of 2020 to receive their diplomas.
As each name was called and their accolades and future plans shared, the graduates crossed the stage with their heads held high flashing smiles and occasionally throwing a fist in the air to signify the completion of a significant point in their education.
There was an occasional hoop and holler let out which was answered back like a good pack of Bulldogs would do.
It was a time of celebration as family tried to get a photo in the dark night at the Drive-In with the only light coming from the screen and stage area.
And to mark the end of their school year – there were honks and cheers that resonated throughout the gathering from the front row to the back.
Congratulations Hampton Bulldog Class of 2020 – you did it!
*All photos by Ivan Sanders.