BATESBURG-LEESVILLE, S.C. — The Batesburg-Leesville community came together Friday morning to celebrate the Class of 2020 with a senior tradition. 

Because of the coronavirus, students had to do classwork from home, and seniors have had quite a different experience from classes in the past. 

At Batesburg-Leesville High School in Lexington Three, seniors usually take part in the Panther Prowl. As part of this tradition, students walk through the halls of their primary and middle schools, remembering all the hard work they put in to reach graduation.

The tradition also provides an opportunity to inspire the younger students who watch the graduates. 

Because of the pandemic, the Class of 2020 wasn't able to participate in this tradition like the seniors before them. Because of this, the district decided to make new plans to celebrate each and every senior. 

"We are so excited that we're having our annual Panther Prowl with a twist this year to adjust to our current situation," said Principal Sonya Bryant. "We're going to parade our senior class through our town by our elementary school, our middle school, and all our folks are going to come out and watch and cheer them on this morning."

Around town, streets were covered with signs and balloons to cheer the seniors on as they went through the parade. Families and friends lined up on the sidewalks and at the schools in the community.

"Batesburg-Leesville is a special place and this is a special class. It is our commemorating 100th graduating class. The district and the school administration just determined that we would not let them graduate without all the pomp and circumstance that they deserve," explained Principal Bryant.

Panther Prowl Parade

Annabelle Summers, a senior at Batesburg-Leesville High School, says she was excited the school was recognizing the Class of 2020 in this way.

"It means a lot to us because they actually made it worth our while. We've been quarantined and haven't really gotten out much so we get to see all of our family and friends and they're supporting us," said Summers.

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Jaylah Barr, another senior at the school, says she's grateful to be a part of the Batesburg-Leesville community.

"It makes me feel like I have the best school. I feel like they are celebrating us in a way that nobody else can and that makes me feel good and very appreciated," said Barr.

The excitement is not over yet for Batesburg-Leesville High School. The Panthers were selected as a Palmetto Finest Finalist. They will find out on Tuesday if they were selected as the winner for the 2019-2020 school year.

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