Staples High School’s senior class has endured a year unlike any in the school’s 136-year history.
But the Class of 2021 faced down challenges and adversity — everything from remote learning and quarantines to shortened sports seasons, canceled plays and concerts, and Plexiglas barriers in the cafeteria — with maturity, resilience and grace.
Yesterday evening, they got their reward. Under a bright sky, in perfect temperatures, they graduated.
All together, as one.
In the first outdoor ceremony since 1994 — not counting last year’s drive-thru affair — they were honored by family and staff.
The crowd was smaller than usual; COVID limited the number of tickets. But unlike years past in the fieldhouse, everyone could see.
And hear. Principal Stafford Thomas hailed the newest graduates as “respectful, optimistic and bold.”
Salutatorian Hannah Even talked about black holes (a metaphor for the past year?). Valedictorian Konur Nordberg gave shout-outs to many classmates, and — alluding to the silver lining of the past year — quoted a 17th-century samurai: “My barn burned down, but now I can see the moon.”
The 469 graduates’ names were called. Proudly, they walked onto the stage and acknowledged the cheers.
It was a warm, wonderful ceremony. Quickly and efficiently, it was over. Just as quickly, the Class of ’21 became part of history.
For once, that’s not a cliché.