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Vals and Sals’ grit throughout high school celebrated

Despite the difficulties COVID-19 had raised this year, the valedictorians and salutatorian persevered; their hard work later recognized and celebrated during the event held on May 19. Courtesy Photo

As the COVID-19 scarred school year nears a close, we celebrate the seniors who succeeded academically during the entirety of their high school journeys.

The seniors who were recognized at the Vals and Sals event held on May 19 outside the theatre include Eden Douglas, Macey Fowler, Kaedyn Harrison, Maddie Meilinger, Grant Murchison, Annabelle Owyoung, Maddie Pratt, Weston Prosser, Jamie Stroer, Cade Torgerson, and Grace Welty. Teachers spoke about their students’ accomplishments and abilities. 

Counselor Mary Buhr elaborated on the proceedings.

“This year, due to COVID-19, we were unable to have a dinner, but we were able to gather outside in the amphitheatre,” she said. “[Last] year, we celebrated Vals and Sals with a Zoom meeting. Each student had a staff member speak on his/her behalf and each student received a plant and a cake to take home and share with their family. It was a very nice event.”

Pratt shared her experience with the event.

“It went well,” she said. “It was nice hearing about all the other people’s achievements and stuff and all the teachers saying great things about them.”

Seniors shared their plans for higher education.

“I plan to begin at Butte College and transfer to Chico State to pursue a nursing degree,” said Harrison.

“I will be attending UC Santa Barbara,” Murchison said.

“I’m planning to go to CSU Channel Islands,” said Pratt.

Despite the challenges of distance education, many seniors managed to maintain academic excellence.

“The number of Vals and Sals fluctuates each year based on the academic performance of the class,” said Mrs. Buhr. “The selection of Vals and Sals is made based on their 7th semester grade point average, after the first semester of their senior year. Since the last semester of their junior year was graded on a Pass/No Pass basis and had no negative effect on GPAs, really it was only their first semester this year that was affected by COVID… I would say there was a usual number of Vals and Sals.”

Pratt shared some important things she learned throughout her years of high school.

“I definitely learned that you need to focus not just on school work, but on yourself,” she said. “You need to do the things that will make you happy and not put all your time and effort into school. Looking back, there’s a lot of things that I wish I had done that I could’ve taken advantage of. Now that high school is over, it’s kind of a bummer that I didn’t do them because I was so focused on school … Also realizing that high school is only four years of your life. It seems like a lot now but in the grand scheme of things it’s really not.”

Mrs. Buhr had a final encouragement for Bear River’s Vals and Sals.

“I am very proud of this year’s senior scholars,” she said. “In the midst of a global pandemic, they found a way to remain focused on their goals. I’m very proud of all seniors who struggled in visible and invisible ways to achieve this accomplishment.”

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Vals and Sals’ grit throughout high school celebrated