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The High Point R-3 School held its eighth-grade graduation Thursday at the Albert Jobe Ball Field.

As graduates walked across the field, the band played to help with their graduation march while friends and family rose in respect. They all stayed standing for the national anthem and then bowed their heads in prayer.

Students then went out in the audience for a parent appreciation presentation, where they gave their parents flowers along with many hugs.

After everyone was situated, High Point superintendent Eric Findley welcomed everyone to High Point's first graduation ceremony to ever take place outside.

"I personally felt like graduation went pretty good, that people liked it," Findley said. "I didn't have any complaints, so that's positive. The weather was absolutely perfect. Everything seemed to run pretty smoothly; I already have people asking me if we'll do it outside next year, but that will be a decision by the class. But I felt like it went really well, I was pleased with it and everyone kind of liked it. It was a positive experience."

Science teacher Kerry Eidson had students stand one by one, giving them their moment of fame while he presented them with awards from throughout the school year.

Salutatorian Zoey Percival took to the podium and gave a sweet and funny speech about all the good times she and her class had shared and how she will miss being at High Point with them.

After a handful of local high school graduates were presented scholarships, it was valedictorian Jillian Schmidt's turn to give her speech. Schmidt, like Percival, talked about how the eighth grade class of 2020's days at High Point were coming to an end and though they would be going off to other high schools, she would miss them and the time she shared with them at school.

Following their speeches was guest speaker, Aaron Martin, who serves as the Moniteau County Associate Circuit Judge. Martin jokingly warned the children they never wanted to have to appear in front of him in court. He also spoke to them about what their future can hold and that it depends on how they choose to view life.

With all these moving and inspiring words still in their heads, it was time to present the graduates with their diplomas. Students were recognized individually, and High Point school board president Nicole Hallford and board member Perry Cook handed them their diplomas as they got their pictures taken.

And finally, Findley had the honor to present the new graduates of the Class of 2020.

After graduation, there was a small celebration at the ballfield's pavilion, where the graduates and their friends and family could spend time together reminiscing and congratulating.

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