Eli White and Blane Shirley have been friends since they came to Greenwood Christian School 12 years ago.

They had the same classes throughout their academic journey and can now share one more thing after Friday evening — both seniors are now graduates of Greenwood Christian School.

“It’s a great feeling. (it’s) Sad to see us go, but man it’s a good feeling,” White said.

“It’s wild that it all came down to this one point,” Shirley said.

The COVID-19 pandemic did not prevent Greenwood Christian’s administration from honoring the school’s 30 seniors with an in-person graduation. Faculty followed social distancing guidelines by checking temperatures at the point of entry, separating students and attendees 6 feet apart and prohibiting anyone from congregated in the parking lot before or after the ceremony.

“That’s pretty much expected with Greenwood Christian, they’ll guide you through anything,” White said. “(I’m a) Big supporter of Greenwood Christian for sure, they’re great.”

Shirley was scared he and his classmates weren’t going to have a graduation, and if they did, it would be a drive-by ceremony.

“Greenwood Christian pulled through, they know a bunch of us have been here for such a long time and they can’t let us go out like that,” he said.

White and Shirley were two of 29 other seniors that will be attending two- or four-year universities or colleges after graduation. In the fall, White will be majoring in sports management at Liberty University and Shirley will be majoring in marketing at the University of South Carolina.

White said when Chris Johns, Greenwood Christian’s head of school, handed him his diploma, he wanted to run a 5k. Shirley said it made him want to go back to first grade.

“We had a bunch of good times at Greenwood Christian,” Shirley said “Great school, great times.”

Salutatorian Luke Ergle referred to the class of 2020 as “Warriors of Christ” because of all the circumstances it has dealt with in previous months. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic separates the class of 2020 from its predecessors, and as the class’ commencement speaker, the Rev. Kyle Richter, noted, it will be an event the graduates will be able to tell their children some day.

Contact reporter Jonathan Limehouse at 864-943-5644 or follow him on Twitter @jon_limehouse.