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Herbert Hoover grad reflects on senior year following devastating flood

It was an historic graduation ceremony as Herbert Hoover High School students, who went through the unthinkable last summer, walked across the stage to receive their diplomas. (WCHS/WVAH)

It was an historic graduation ceremony as Herbert Hoover High School students, who went through the unthinkable last summer, walked across the stage to receive their diplomas.

The class of 2017 is the first class to graduate following the historic flooding, which destroyed their high school.

Just before taking her final steps as a Herbert Hoover student, one graduate spoke about her senior year and said while the year began with tragedy, it ended with lessons and memories she will never forget.

Senior Kelsey Naylor said Hoover Principal Mike Kelly gave the students some wisdom on how to handle the school year.

"Mr. Kelly just told us, ' this is how it's going to be, make the best of it, and that's what we did',” Kelsey Naylor said.

Like many of her classmates, Naylor started school having just lost the home she grew up in.

"Every memory I have is in that house, and it was hard to watch it happen and to just watch your house fill up with water,” Naylor said.

Since then, her family had to move out of Clendenin, but neighbor Janet Rollyson said that didn’t stop Kelsey from showing up to help.

"I turned around and Kelsey was standing there,” Rollyson said.

Rollyson said it was just like Kelsey, who plays center field for the Husky softball team, to catch everything thrown at her.

"So humble. She not only survived the flood, but she thrived through it with volleyball and softball and grades,” Rollyson said.

Rollyson saw Kelsey’s kindness not only for herself, but for her family and entire community," Rollyson said. "They learned compassion for people. You can't learn that in a textbook."

Thursday night as she walked across the graduation stage, Kelsey said this experience has turned neighbors and friends into family.

"It was such a tragic thing that happened, butI don't think there was another community that could have dealt with it the way we did. We completely made it through it and we're done,” Naylor said.

Next week, Naylor and the rest of the Herbert Hoover softball team will be playing in the state tournament, but that will not be the end of her playing days. This fall she will continue her softball career at Glenville State College.

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