COVINGTON, Va. – Friday marked the end of an era for Covington High School.
The school celebrated its final graduating class before students and staff of Alleghany Highlands Public Schools will complete the district’s merger next year – an experience Covington Principal Derek Cantrell says it’s bittersweet.
“You’re ending an 83-year run of Covington High School being a big mainstay in our community,” Cantrell said.
Covington High School will be renamed Covington Middle - and it will be the only one for the district. All high schoolers will attend Alleghany High in the fall.
Class president Lauren Bragg is the last valedictorian the school will ever see.
“It’s really memorable to think that I’m going to be part of history forever. Even if the school doesn’t exist anymore, I’m still going to have to say I’m the last one,” Bragg said.
Getting emotional during her speech to her peers, Bragg reflected on the memories the halls of Covington High hold.
“It’s a little sad because you’re always going to want to be a Cougar since you started a Cougar,” Bragg said.
Senior Dean Anderson said Covington didn’t just prepare students for college but for life.
“They sent out great adults. I mean we’re sending out great people into this world,” Anderson said.
Alleghany and Covington were rivals, but Anderson said the merger will be a good thing for both schools.
“It’s not as big of a rivalry as you would think. We’re basically just one big family,” Anderson said.
Students and staff say it may be the end of an age, but the start of a new journey.
Covington City Public Schools and Alleghany County Public Schools administration merged in 2022 to create a new district, Alleghany Highlands Public Schools.