Shaw High Honors Seniors with Final Farewell Diploma Celebration


Seniors all across the country did not receive the graduation they expected, but over at Shaw High School the students earned a final farewell diploma celebration that they will never forget.

“I’m going to miss my friends and I’m going to really miss the people that encouraged me to be the best me that I could possibly be and strive for the best,” said senior Haley Jones.

Families in cars with signs and balloons lined up in front of Shaw High School to watch their seniors pick up their diploma. A special memory for Malachi Benjamin who will continue his studies at CVCC on a two-year full-ride scholarship, and then he plans to transfer to CSU. The senior will study Business Administration with a minor in Marketing. Benjamin has a Raider spirit that is helpful and loving, so much so that he received the Raider Faculty Cup trophy award. He’s so thankful for his time at Shaw.

“You know, they didn’t just do this because the district wanted them to, it was like it really came from their hearts,” said Malachi Benjamin. “I’m just so thankful that they reached out from the bottom of their hearts to set this up for all of us.”

The final farewell was a chance for students to say their goodbyes and thank those who helped them along the way. Syniah Joy Hood graduates in the top five of her class and plans to represent Shaw at Alabama State University where she’ll study Business Administration with a minor in Spanish. She’s thankful for her education at Shaw.

“Getting to see all of my teachers, all of the faculty I’ve had all throughout the years,” said Hood. “Even the janitors and the lunch ladies I love everybody, so to see everyone again one last, final time because we didn’t get that proper goodbye was just awesome.”

Seniors like Shaw’s top scholar athlete Nyana Geisler graduates with a 4.048 GPA and will attend Kennesaw State University. Although Geisler will be busy pursuing a Biology degree with a concentration in Pre-Med, she looks to become a walk-on track and field athlete for the Owls. Obstacles are not new for Geisler. She overcame an ACL injury that ended her track journey as a junior, and then the coronavirus stole her senior season. Reflecting back at Shaw memories, Geisler will always remember the bus rides studying with teammates.

“You know it was really hard coming back at 12 p.m. from games and traveling and stuff, but we made it work,” said Geisler. “A lot of my friends made it work, so I’m just happy that I was up there with the rest of them.”

Memories like the diploma celebration will help these seniors push aside the struggles from COVID-19.

“It’s not the day that makes the person. It’s the person that makes the day,” said Benjamin.

Muscogee County plans on holding graduations for Columbus-area schools this summer. The tentative date for Shaw High is July 25 at 5:30 p.m. EST at the Columbus Civic Center.
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