More than 280 students celebrated their graduation from Sussex Technical High School last week, completing four years of career-technical education and academic successes.

“Ravens soar high above, no matter what their path is,” said Principal Dr. John Demby. “Whether you’re headed into military service, going into the workforce, pursuing higher education, or diving into apprenticeship programs, Sussex Tech is proud of all of you. This year has not been what any of us expected, but you have triumphed and persevered.”

Each Sussex Tech student chooses one of 16 career-technical areas in which to concentrate their studies, ranging from collision repair and dental services to carpentry and digital publishing. The most popular areas among the Class of 2020 were health professions, criminal justice, automotive technology, dental services, and early care and education.

Sussex Tech graduates earn both high school diplomas and technical certificates in their field of study. The diploma recognizes the work they have done in the traditional academic subjects to meet all state graduation requirements, and the technical certificate recognizes their accomplishments in their career-technical area, in many cases earning industry-standard professional certifications to prepare them for the workforce or additional education.

This year’s valedictorian is Bethany Pasmore of Bethany Beach, an early care and education student who will be attending the University of Delaware to study elementary and special education.

“All of us deserve to be proud of what we have achieved,” she told her classmates, recalling the day they walked out of school on March 13, hoping for a few days off. “We never imagined it would lead to this. Suddenly, high school as we knew it was over. … But I believe that through these changes we have grown stronger. Through this event, we have realized the importance of the people around us.”

The salutatorian is Jaasiel Nunez of Georgetown, a criminal justice and legal support services student who will be attending the Ohio State University to study athletic training.

“We are the future voices of America,” he said. “Your future is bright — and you’re the reason why we can still hope and fight for a better world of equality and justice. As we commemorate the graduation of our class, remember that the brightest and most gifted people of our generation reside in this slower, lower, chicken-loving, beach-crazy, corn-filled county of Delaware.”

The senior class president is Nayelis Gonzalez Sanchez of Seaford, a health professions student who will be attending Salisbury University on a pre-med track, who spoke about the memories the class made over the last four years despite the challenges of recent months.

“Although we are closing this chapter of our book, our stories are just beginning,” she said. “We may all be heading in different directions, but our memories, moments and lessons will stick with us. … We will always bleed black and silver.”

Commencement speaker Dontez Collins, the district’s 2020 Teacher of the Year and a Sussex Tech alumnus, delivered a challenge to graduates feeling emotional about missing part of their senior year experience.

“Use those emotions as fuel,” he said. “Fuel for the fire that burns in your soul to achieve greatness as you define that word from your own perspective. … Liberate each other in packs as black birds who travel in silhouettes in broad daylight.”

Students graduated in four separate ceremonies over the course of two days, June 12-13. Pasmore, Nunez, Gonzalez Sanchez and Collins all recorded their speeches, which will be posted online in the near future.

Local students among the 286 members of the Class of 2020, by hometown, are:

• Bethany Beach — Bethany Pasmore, Early Care & Education, valedictorian, Outstanding Senior for Spanish and science;

• Dagsboro — Kellin Castro Cruz, Health Professions; Taylor Cave, Health Professions; Justin Gulab, Criminal Justice & Legal Support Services; Precious Jackson-Powell, Criminal Justice & Legal Support Services; Sierra Livingston, Dental Services; Patrick McCabe, Criminal Justice & Legal Support Services; Sydney West, Early Care & Education;

• Frankford — Samantha Bunting, Health Professions; Kevin Custis, HVAC-R; Arian Elvira-Abirached, Criminal Justice & Legal Support Services; Jordan Harper, Electrical & Green Energy; Shianne Joachimowski, Digital Publishing & Design; Malaurie Noble, Criminal Justice & Legal Support Services; Mark Raithel, Cisco Networking;

• Georgetown — Jacob Barrett, Environmental & Landscaping; Katerlyn Barrios-Lopez, Health Professions, Outstanding Senior for technical area; Jena Bones, Automotive Technology; Dereck Booth, Environmental & Landscaping, Outstanding Senior for technical area; Trenton Broomall, HVAC-R; Alexis Bullock, Physical Therapy - Athletic Health Care; Jessica Cac-Lopez, Dental Services; Grant Carter, Automotive Technology; Megan Cathell, Cisco Networking; Derick Cifuentes-Moreno, Electrical & Green Energy; Jeffrey Clausen, Automotive Technology; Marayna Coleman, Health Professions; Christopher Dorey, Automotive Technology; John Farro, Electrical & Green Energy; Jamie Fello, Collision Repair; Andrell Fulton, Collision Repair; Victoria Garay, Health Professions; Martez Gibbs, Carpentry & Construction Management; Jaina Hershey, Media Broadcasting; Dylan Holston, Automotive Technology; Miranda Hudson, Media Broadcasting, Outstanding Senior for technical area; Kiaya James, Media Broadcasting; Alyssa Layfield, Health Professions; Haley Malice, Cosmetology; Joseph Marquez, Carpentry & Construction Management; Koby Martin, Criminal Justice & Legal Support Services; Blake Meyer, Cisco Networking; Emmette Minor, Carpentry & Construction Management; Grace Morris, Early Care & Education; Riley Murphy, Early Care & Education; Jaasiel Nunez, Criminal Justice & Legal Support Services, salutatorian; Brisa Ocampo Fuentes, Dental Services; Nathan Reed, Automotive Technology; Jazmine Rogers, Dental Services; Matthew Ryan, Digital Publishing & Design; Leinny Sandoval-Sanchez, Early Care & Education; Mitchell Shaffer, Automotive Technology; Kara Shallis, Digital Publishing & Design; Patrick Short, Carpentry & Construction Management; Amanda Silar, Digital Publishing & Design, Outstanding Senior for technical area; Edwin Tercero-Berduo, Automotive Technology; Devin Tercero-Berduo, Electrical & Green Energy; Junior Velasquez-Diaz, Automotive Technology; Daniel Vicente, Criminal Justice & Legal Support Services;

• Millsboro — Kamil Bonilla, Cosmetology; Alyssa Bradley, Physical Therapy—Athletic Health Care; Kayla Brady, Physical Therapy—Athletic Health Care; Sadie Brittingham, Carpentry & Construction Management; Caroline Bunting, Dental Services; Luke Collins, Automotive Technology; Jasmine Cummings, Criminal Justice & Legal Support Services; Dallas Emplit, Health Professions; Andrew Fodi, Electrical & Green Energy; Samantha Gerini, Health Professions; Sierra Hall, Digital Publishing & Design; Julia Hollenbeck, Physical Therapy—Athletic Health Care; Nicholas Kellam, HVAC-R; Kelsey Kormanik, Carpentry & Construction Management; McKenna Lecates, Cosmetology; Celina Lombardi, Early Care & Education, Outstanding Senior for technical area; Robert Mancuso, Carpentry & Construction Management; Megan Moriarty, Health Professions; Kyle Morris, Hospitality Management; Sobechi Okoye, Digital Publishing & Design; Yaisa Paxtor-Gonzalez, Health Professions; Anna Sellers, Early Care & Education; Jacob Slabonik, Cisco Networking, Outstanding Senior for technical area and for science; Nicholas Smith, Business, Finance & Marketing; Jalen Snead, HVAC-R; Chase Snyder, Carpentry & Construction Management; Abaigeal Staniewski, Physical Therapy—Athletic Health Care; Jadaya Strand, Criminal Justice & Legal Support Services; Lamarcus Thompson, Collision Repair; Kyle Twilley, Criminal Justice & Legal Support Services; Jaiden Vanderhorst, Carpentry & Construction Management; Peyton Willey, Collision Repair; Ciara Wilson, Criminal Justice & Legal Support Services; Tiara Wilson, Cosmetology; and

• Ocean View — Jessica Blatzheim German, Early Care & Education, Outstanding Senior for technical area; Maria Cusimano, Cosmetology; Hannah Morris, Physical Therapy—Athletic Health Care; Bethany Schroeder, Criminal Justice & Legal Support Services; Rebecca Schroeder, Cosmetology, Outstanding Senior for technical area; Madison Vogel, Digital Publishing & Design, Outstanding Senior for technical area and social studies;

• Selbyville — Page Athey, Early Care & Education; Abigail Hurley, Cosmetology; Ja’Shaun Johnson, HVAC-R; Grant Lamers, Environmental & Landscaping; Jacob Lucas, Cisco Networking; Abigail Neely, Cisco Networking; Nayeli Rodriguez Rivera, Health Professions; Riley Senseny, Health Professions; Savas Sirin, Cisco Networking; Ashley Temaj Jiguan, Dental Services; and Hunter Williams, Criminal Justice & Legal Support Services.