'You live in a tough world’: Graham praises South Florence HS grads for adapting, overcoming during COVID-19

Sen. Lindsey Graham serves as guest speaker at South Florence HS graduation

FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - Graduation for the seniors at South Florence High School was different, but graduates and their families celebrated together like any other graduation.

The seniors were spaced six feet apart, and many sported South Florence Bruins masks as they waited for their names to be called, and so they could walk across the graduation stage.

Their families parked and watched the ceremony in the Florence Center parking lot.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham was the guest speaker for the commencement.

Graham spoke about the difficulties surrounding our country, and the bright future the class of 2020 has moving forward.

“The possibilities you have are unlimited. In the middle of very sad and dangerous times, I’m here to tell you that you can knock out of the park because the economy is going to come roaring back and we are going to depend on you to take us to the next level,” said Graham. “I’ve never seen more opportunity for a graduating class than I do right now, while I’m surrounded by a lot of disappointment and despair.”

Graduation had a special significance for the graduates as it marked the first time they’ve all been together in several months.

Valedictorian Dylan Gandy said despite the interesting circumstances surrounding their graduation, the class of 2020 is prepared for the future.

“We are separated from our friends and loved ones, separating ourselves to protect from the possibility of transmitting COVID-19,” said Gandy. “High school was no walk in the park either. We bombed tests and ended friendships while questioning who we are. Despite this, high school prepared us for this and more.

Graham praised the graduates of South Florence High School for their ability to adapt and overcome the challenges they have faced in their final semester. Graham told the graduates to continue getting back up when life knocks them down.

“So for the class of 2020, you live in a tough world, an ever-changing world. Sometimes it can be cruel, but my money is on you. You’ve made it this far and God willing the best is yet to come and when you get knocked down, remember you can get back up," Graham said.

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