Despite COVID-19, Fleming Island grads prepare for next step in life

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FLEMING ISLAND – High school students Trystan Ayers, Jordan Detwiler, Landon Opp, Lia Godfrey and Alia Skinner completed their senior school year the same as every student this year: from home. The coronavirus forced the five students – and thousands more in Clay County – to finish the year from home. And while it changed the way the students’ final year, it didn’t change their plans for what happens next.

Ayers, Detwiler and Opp were accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy. Godfrey and Skinner were awarded scholarships to the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech, respectively, and their journeys would begin soon after the end of the 2019-20 school year. With graduation delayed due to the coronavirus, things were up in the air on whether or not these five students would be walking across the stage with their fellow peers.

As time passed by, it became clear they would not get that opportunity. Fleming Island’s graduation was set for July 17, but the students had to move on to the next step of their lives before that. Wanting to give these students some form of graduation ceremony, FIHS and the school district arranged for a more personal commemoration to take place.

The five students, their families, principal Thomas Pittman, Superintendent David Broskie and congressman Ted Yoho recently gathered at the school for a small ceremony.

Detwiler’s mother, Teri Briggs, said the night was extremely special and she was happy to see the district and school set something up like this for her daughter and the other students in the same boat as her.

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