Laurel High School staff surprised senior students Abbey Scott and Trinnitee Powell with a parade Wednesday to inform the ladies they received top marks in the Laurel class of 2020.
Since mid-March, students across Montana have been kept out of the classroom and forced to learn online to keep them safe from COVID-19. That meant some end-of-year traditions have had to take a different shape.
Laurel High School staff found a way to recognize the top of this year's senior class. About 30 cars full of teachers and administrators honked their horns and paraded by Scott's and Powell's homes.
Scott was named valedictorian and Powell the salutatorian of the Laurel High School class of 2020 with grade point averages above 4.0.
News of the ladies' achievements was kept a secret until the parade, led by the school's resource officer, rolled to their doorsteps.
“I was kind of scared at first. I heard the siren of Officer Anglin. So I ran down like, oh no, what’s happening? It was just surprising in a good way. I’ve never seen that many people in our cul de sac in my life ever," Scott said.
To keep up the ruse, Powell's mother Amanda suggested the pair step outside to sit on the porch.
"I just knew that my mom told me to get dressed and that we were going to be sitting on the porch for a little while. And I was definitely not expecting that," Powell said.
Both of the students knew pretty well they were in the top of the class because they could check their grades online. But the gesture from the high school came as a complete surprise.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting this. I was wondering why I hadn’t been told yet because we can check on Infinite Campus and I saw I was number one. I was wondering why they hadn’t emailed me or anything. This is definitely way better than an email," Scott said.
Since school has been closed, both Scott and Powell said they miss the camaraderie of the classroom.
“I mean, I’m definitely missing all of my friends and my teachers and being in class. But we’re figuring out how to do online school. And it’s been an interesting experience," Powell said.
According to Scott, some high school seniors are happy about the classroom closure, but not her.
“I actually miss school. I know a lot of people are like ‘oh, I’m so glad we’re done already.’ I miss the people. I miss being in a classroom everyday and I miss my friends and my teachers. Online school just isn’t the same, you know?" Scott said.
The list of extracurricular activities is long for these girls. Scott has been involved in drama, choir, volleyball management, and National Honor Society. She was even elected student body president this year.
And Powell has been involved in speech, drama and debate and Business Professionals of America.
"I was the speech team captain for two years. And I was actually the state champion for the event that I’ve been doing for four years. Original oratory. That really helped with my confidence levels and it allowed me to branch out into other activities," Powell said.
With the end of high school in the senior's sights, the next step for both includes college. Scott said she will head off to Minnesota to study English at St. Olaf College. And Powell will stay close to home with plans to attend Montana State University Billings in the fall majoring in business.