John Adams High School graduating class shows strength, determination in the face of adversity

John Adams High School graduating class shows strength, determination in the face of adversity
By: Dan Petreikis Last Updated: July 25, 2020

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s this: this is no ordinary year. It should come as no surprise then, that the high school graduates of 2020 are no ordinary graduating class. Born in the shadow cast when the twin towers fell in New York City, this year’s graduating class has lived through the threat of terrorism, they have lived through one of the worst and deepest recessions the world has ever seen, and now they are living through a global pandemic. Yet still, they endure.

Theirs is a generation of resiliency. It is one of hope in the face of enduring adversity. They have faced uncertainty and global turmoil, and they have done so with the ever-burning embers of hope still within their souls. If there is a brighter future ahead, which must certainly be the case, these are the young souls who will light the way for generations to come. 

This year marks the seventy-ninth annual commencement ceremony for John Adams High School, and the students celebrating the next chapter in their lives did so with cheerfulness. They did so with hopeful smiles and joy, but also with a strength born of adversity in the face of so much change, and the commencement addresses reflected that. At the start of this year’s ceremony, class valedictorians and salutatorians took to the stage to deliver their speeches, and several of them used this time to address issues such as racial inequality, global suppression and more. 

John Adams High School Graduation 2020

John Adams High School Graduation 2020 502 Photos
John Adams High School Graduation 2020John Adams High School Graduation 2020John Adams High School Graduation 2020John Adams High School Graduation 2020

This year’s class is astutely world-aware, and determined to engineer a better, brighter future.

Held on the well-manicured Four Winds Field, this year’s socially-distanced ceremony marked the turning of the page for over 400 graduates, but it also marks another chapter in a year filled with uncertainty, as many students and faculty alike had wondered what this year’s graduation might look like in the face of COVID-19, or if there would be any ceremony at all.

Chris Berg, Assistant Principal at John Adams High School said that they put every effort into making sure that this year’s graduation ceremony was as safe as possible. 

“The kids are why we do it,” said Berg. “They are why we do this job. They missed out on so much already this year that we felt it was incredibly important for us to put this together. We absolutely did not want them to miss out on this moment. This is something that these kids have been working towards for the last 12 years of their lives and they deserve the best we can give them.”

“I’m very proud of them. Considering all the challenges that they’ve had to overcome, this is really a very special class.”

Celebrating their special moment were graduates Ella Haag and Ava Glick, who have been best friends since “forever.”

“I really appreciate everything that the school did to make this happen for us,” said Haag, who plans to study sports management at Indiana University - Bloomington. “I know that there were a lot of other kids who didn’t get the opportunity to have a graduation, so I really appreciate this.”

Glick agreed. 

“This was a really awesome day, and we just really appreciate everything that the staff at John Adams did to make this happen for us,” said Glick, who also plans to attend Indiana University - Bloomington, and will be majoring in recreational therapy.

As Roy. T. Bennett said, “Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the end.”

Congratulations to the class of 2020.

For more information about John Adams High School, visit them online at