Aurora’s historic Kelley Field provided the perfect evening backdrop to Friday, June 12th graduation ceremonies for the 119 seniors for the Aurora High School Class of 2020. The ceremonies were held approximately one month following the date for the original ceremonies. The May 8th ceremonies were delayed due to the shutdowns and cancellations for COVID-19.

The normal setup was rearranged to allow for social distancing, limited photography and real stage for the students to parade across to receive their diplomas in front of immediate family members and a few close friends.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Billy Redus gave the welcome and introduced the evening’s two speakers, Betime Begzati and Amanda Cornell. Both ladies spoke of the resiliency of the senior class, the ongoing pandemic and the shutdown that ended their senior year rather abruptly, the things they were going to miss, getting outside of their comfort zones and the pride they find in being from Aurora. Cornell ended her speech to much applause as she reiterated the age-old saying: “Once A Houn’ Dawg, Always A Houn’ Dawg.” 

Ceremonies began at 7 p.m. and lasted a little over one hour. The AHS Senior Choir sang the class song: “Home.” The AHS Band provided the instrumental music for “Pomp & Circumstance” and the recessional. 

AHS Principal Rob Brown and Assistant Principal Scott Spooner presented the class to the board of education, which was represented by longtime board member—Scott Welch.

Dr. Redus presented the diplomas and introduced the honor graduates earning summa cum laude, magna cum laude and cum laude distinctions. 

The only hitch of the evening came when a train came through resulting in a brief delay in announcing the names of the graduates over the speaker system.

The class motto for this year’s seniors is: Unified in spirit and mind, the Class of 2020 forever aligned. The class flower is the white rose, while class colors are red and black.

Leanne Cope is the senior class sponsor and supervises graduation ceremony plans. 

The weekend also included Project Grad activities and a few graduation parties planned by senior parents.