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Old Dominion’s Matthew Ramsey surprises James River seniors with more than congratulations

The country music star and James River High School alumnus spoke to the Class of 2020

BUCHANAN, Va. – Graduation ceremonies at James River High School came with a big surprise.

The school’s most famous graduate sent the students a message along with a big donation to the school.

Wednesday marked part two of graduation for the Class of 2020.

“We thought after we had the virtual ceremony last night that it would mean something to our students and certainly mean something to us, to see every student to take a picture,” said Principal Jamie Talbott.

So despite the rain, each student came by, one by one, for a photo.

“It’s sad that we had to get it this way, but I’m super glad to be able to see all my teachers again and be in contact with some of my friends,” said James River graduating senior Brooke Moran.

Graduates experienced quite the surprise during Tuesday night’s graduation.

“My name is Matthew Ramsey. I’m from Buchanan, Virginia. I graduated from James River High School just like you and I’m here to say congratulations. What an achievement. It’s a big deal. You worked really hard to get hear,” said Old Dominion front man Matt Ramsey in a pre-recorded video.

Ramsey didn’t just send his congratulations, but also a donation of $50,000 to James River High School for its fine arts program.

He was full of praise for where he grew up and the sense of community.

Some of the money was raised during his annual concerts there at the school.

“Before you run off into the world, going whatever you’re gonna do next, look around, you live in one of the most beautiful spots in the world,” Ramsey reminded the seniors.

A nice memory added to a day when a small community is doing all it can to honor its graduates.

Talbott said there is a plan to have a formal graduation ceremony if and when Gov. Ralph Northam allows large gatherings.

About the Author:

John Carlin co-anchors the 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts on WSLS 10.