COVID-19 forced them to shorten the graduation ceremony, but Carthage ISD’s PACE Academy turned commencement into an intimate celebration of its students on Thursday.

The school hosted its Second Chances graduation at the high school’s multi-purpose building, having seniors wait outside with their parents before, one-by-one, they were allowed inside the indoor field to receive their diplomas and a few words of encouragement from Principal Michael Baysinger.

The 2020 class is: Donna Lamion Baker, Destiny Shyann Boren, Jailee Makenna Britt, Jonothin Glenn Cooke, Laura Cecilia Garcia Olvera, Armando Morgan Garza, Matthew Hollie Jr., Shadora De’Angelina Jennings, Luvia Lares, Brandon Keith Maxey, Triston Dwain McMillan, Alexander Wade Mills, Cristian Eduardo Olvera, Josey Mae Roper, Ki’Asmyn I’Yana Ware, Alarick Dejuan Wilcots and Kayla La’Sha Willie.

Baysinger apologized before the ceremony for its deviation from the traditional ceremony they’d normally have; there was no speaker or speeches to listen to that day. But he said graduates would have memories from the day; a video of the graduation ceremony would be provided to each family.

“We’re giving you the best graduation we can based on what the state guidelines are and what we have to follow,” he said.

Inside while handing out diplomas, Baysinger told each graduate he was proud of them. He shook hands with some and joked with others about finally making it. He acknowledged the hard work it takes from students to graduate from high school and wished his students success in the future.

“Good job, Brandon,” Baysinger told Brandon Maxey. “I know what you went through to get through here. Good job, congratulations man. Get after it in your future. Have a good one.”

Reporter

Carthage native Meredith Shamburger has worked for the Panola Watchman since 2018. Before that, she worked at sister papers in Longview and Marshall; the Dallas Morning News; and The Daily Voice, a hyperlocal news company in Westchester County, New York.