Neshoba Central’s Class of 2020 celebrates after graduating and receiving their diplomas last week.
Neshoba Central’s Class of 2020 celebrates after graduating and receiving their diplomas last week.
Even though Neshoba Central’s Class of 2020 didn’t make memories at prom, they made memories as a class that “we won’t ever forget,” Salutatorian and Senior Class President Shamiya Monroe said last week during commencement ceremonies.

Neshoba Central High School held three graduations ceremonies last week at the football stadium.

Graduation ceremonies were pushed up from May and held in separate sessions as the result of the coronavirus pandemic. School officials sought to limit the possible spread of the COVID-19 with smaller groups of graduates who were spaced out on the football field. Ceremonies were held last Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Bethany Boswell was the class Valedictorian while Shamiya Monroe was the Class Salutatorian.

Eli Moran was the Star Student. He selected Angie Breland to be the Star Teacher.

In her Valedictorian address, Boswell talked about how failures proved to be the start of future successes.

 “It is my honor to speak to you at the finality of many years of hard work and a new era for us graduates,” Boswell said. “Our senior year unfortunately was cut short. For a while, many of us doubted we would be able to have a graduation service.

“But our teachers, principals and superintendent made it possible for us to have this opportunity.”

Boswell talked about learning and rebounding from her disappointments.

“In the sixth grade, I missed more than 20 questions on a math test,” Boswell said. “I can also recall a large 50 on my physics test my junior year, and the 70 on a chemistry test.

“It may seem funny that I, the valedictorian, am speaking about getting bad grades,” Boswell said. “But the moments that I have used failure are what means most to me. I remember those grades most because they have taught me something special. I learn to accept downfalls and continuing on, no matter how hard the fall.

“I make mistakes. It has been hard for me to accept that I do sometimes because I am somewhat of a perfectionist,” Boswell said. “But I know now that we all fall sometimes. What truly matters is how we get up. Without failures, there would be no great achievements.”

Boswell is the daughter of Christina and Jeffrey Boswell.

She is a member of the ACT 30+ Club and the National Honor Society. She also on the special honor roll. Boswell was a member of the Big Blue Marching Band and the Symphonic Band. She was the most improved musician from the 2017-2018 school year and received the Symphonic Band Excellence Award for the 2018-2019 school year.

She is a member of the Christian Life Tabernacle Church where she was on the media team, a member of the youth choir, a member of the Drama team and the puppet team.

Bowell plans to attend Mississippi State University in fall. She will be a part of Shackouls Honors College. She plans to major in Biochemistry on a pre-med track. Afterwards, she wants to go to med school to become a doctor.

In her Salutatorian address, Monroe talked about memories of her journey through high school, highlighted by the good times and the bad.

“It breaks my heart that we aren’t graduating together,” Monroe said. “So looking out at the crowd, I have hope that we will prevail. COVID-19 has caused so much stress and hardship.

“Class of 2020, when we first became seniors, all of us were hyped. It was going to be our time. We are going to be better than the class of 2019,” Monroe said. “Everything happens for a reason. We have memories that we will never forget. Most of us have been together K-12. That’s 13 years. Neshoba Central has been an experience for us all. It has personally been an honor to grow and become a family with all of you.”

She talked about hard work and family support she received while growing up.

“I never thought this day would come and I never dreamed I would be blessed with the opportunity to speak in front of you,” Monroe said. “All of our hard work has finally paid off.

“My mother always pushed me to do better. She instilled in me starting in kindergarten, that even though I did good today, I could always do better. She made me tryout for almost every single club and called me out if I thought I was going to get away with having a B. And God help you if you are not on honor roll in the Monroe household.

“The only person you compete with is the person you were yesterday, and that sums up my high school career. Every day, I tried to do and become better,” Monroe said.

Monroe is the daughter of James and Alice Monroe.

She has received special recognition as a member of the ACT Distinction Club. She was the Rotary October Student of the Month, senior class president, National and Honor Society president.

She is a member of the National Honor Society, student council, BETA Club, Mu Alpha Theta, Future Business Leaders of America, the Crown Club and the Bible Club.

She is a member of the Tabernacle of Praise Church of God in Christ in Philadelphia.

Monroe plans to attend the University of Mississippi. She plans to become a social justice lawyer.

“Ten years from now, I won’t look back on the bad,” Monroe said “I will remember the good. I will remember the fun memories in band and traveling to band competition. Going to the conventions. The classroom jokes and the fun. That’s what we should remember. When times were hard, they were really good … Class of 2020, we finally made it.”