Congradulations, Staples High School Class Of 2021!

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.

Seniors file onto the stadium field, past a memorial bench dedicated to Tamari Rivera. Their classmate — a beloved member of the basketball team — died in January.

They continue on to their seats of honor, in front of the stage.

In the first outdoor ceremony since 1994 — not counting last year’s drive-thru affair — they were honored by family and staff.

Assistant principal James Farnen leads staff members into the ceremony.

The crowd was smaller than usual; COVID limited the number of tickets. But unlike years past in the fieldhouse, everyone could see.

Bleachers are decorated with signs from departments, clubs and teams, honoring the graduates.

And hear. Principal Stafford Thomas hailed the newest graduates as “respectful, optimistic and bold.”

Principal Stafford Thomas delivers warm, upbeat remarks.

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.”

Valedictorian Konur Nordberg delivers witty, wide-ranging remarks.

The 469 graduates’ names were called. Proudly, they walked onto the stage and acknowledged the cheers.

James Jennings receives his diploma. From left, assistant principal Pat Micinilio, Board of Education chair Candice Savin and principal Stafford Thomas do the honors. James later joined Marley Lopez-Paul, leading the class in the traditional turning of the tassel.

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.

Benny Zack solos with the Choralaires and senior choral members on “The Road Home.”

Senior soccer players march in together.

Some graduates decorate their mortarboards …

… while others have a snack and water.

The Staples High School Class of 2021: winners in every book. (Photos/Dan Woog)

One response to “Congradulations, Staples High School Class Of 2021!

  1. Roseann Spengler

    Thank you. Thank you. I was there yesterday for my grandson’s graduation. Too far away for any kind of decent photo. Now, I have the terrific photos that you took. Ah, the memories.