Class of 2021 graduates as the first class to use the new gym for their ceremony

Graduation was held indoors Saturday, May 22

Due to the delayed graduation of last year’s senior class, the graduates of the class of 2021 became the first class to host their graduation ceremony in the new competition gym, Saturday, May 22. 

Originally scheduled for outside, rainy weather caused the district to move the ceremony indoors. According to senior Emma Cross, moving the ceremony inside was a good decision. 

“I didn’t really mind the fact that graduation was inside. The people that I wanted to come were able to come and we got to have it in the new gym which was exciting; I’ve only been in there a few times,” Cross said. “It did end up raining toward the end of the ceremony so having it inside was a good call.” 

Principal Dr. Gail Holder felt saddened that graduation had to be moved indoors, but thought that holding the ceremony in the new gym turned out to be exciting. 

“Navigating the weather and having to make the difficult decision to have it inside which only allowed four people to attend [was the hardest part of the planning],” Holder said. “[My favorite part of the ceremony was] shaking every single student’s hand as they walked across the stage and seeing their smiles, and tears.” 

Hosting an indoor event amidst COVID-19 can be difficult, but senior Jonathan Atchley, one of the speakers at the ceremony, believed the precautions were beneficial for students and families. 

“Graduation included many of the same precautions that have been included in other school events such as masks and social distancing,” Atchley said. “I think the changes made were essential to hosting a safe graduation where people were able to celebrate while not being put in an uncomfortable situation.” 

For Cross, the safety precautions were necessary, but not overbearing. 

“The only thing that COVID-19 impacted on graduation was the mask wearing, but that was it. Obviously, it was necessary to have masks since COVID-19 is still going on,” Cross said. “COVID-19 actually didn’t impact how I celebrated graduation. I still got to have a graduation party and celebrate with all my friends and family.” 

Atchley felt excited to be chosen as his class speaker, but understandably a bit nervous about the large crowd. 

“My speech was primarily about asking the parents and staff to not remember the class of 2021 by all of the adversity we faced, but rather the perseverance the senior class showed,” Atchley said. “It wasn’t very hard to write, as I am truly proud of what the senior class has accomplished this year.” 

Cross believed that walking into the gym will be a picture-perfect memory that she will keep with her. 

“My favorite part of graduation was first walking into the gym and seeing everyone’s friends and families sitting on the bleachers,” Cross said. “That’s when it hit me that it’s actually happening and I’m actually graduating right now.” 

Holder urged the senior class to focus on the positive. 

“Focus on the things you can do,” Holder said. “Not what you cannot do to change a situation.”

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