WINCHESTER — Glide seniors Dillon Towne and Zach Holland just wanted a way to honor retired Glide football coach Jody Doty — considered by many students to be one of the biggest influences on their lives.

The rest of the Wildcat senior football players quickly bought into the idea and prepared a simple, but heartfelt tribute during Sunday’s Glide High School graduation ceremony at Jacoby Auditorium at Umpqua Community College.

One by one as their names were called, Glide seniors walked through a trellis arch, stopped to display their Glide football jerseys under their gowns and pointed to Doty in the audience.

“That was for how much they love him,” said Aaron Towne, who became Glide’s newest head football coach after Doty announced his retirement. “You will never meet a better person than him.”

Doty first met Dillon Towne and his family when Dillon was in middle school. The coach, teacher and friend has made an impression on him ever since.

“He’s a family member for sure,” Dillon Towne said.

The tribute was a nice surprise for Doty, who had no idea it was coming.

“It struck a nice chord with me,” Doty said Sunday afternoon.

It was part of a memorable day for nearly 50 students of the class of 2019 who walked across the stage to receive their diplomas in front of faculty, family members and friends. Mashayla Belloir, Gabriel Bunnell, Joseph DeBell, Nehemiah Dunnavant and Brooke Roberts were the valedictorians, while Alyssa Malek served as the salutatorian.

In addition to valedictory and salutatory speeches, Calvin Metz and Johanna Pope performed “Butterfly Fly Away” and audience members were treated to a slide show mixing baby photos and grad photos from the class of 2019.

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