When the graduating class of 2020 walked across the stage, many were hopeful that it would be an anomaly.
With two cohorts of graduates over two nights and parents being shuffled in and out of the high school gym to watch as their kids crossed the stage, it seemed like 2020 would be a one-off year for weird graduations.
But as COVID continued, the graduating class of 2021 settled in for what ended up being an entire senior year of a pandemic.
“It was definitely different, with wearing masks and we wernr’et able to do the things we were used to doing or looking forward to doing in a senior year,” said valedictorian Adam Archibald.
“But I didn’t find it as bad as I was expecting it to be, I think there were a lot of other schools that had it worse than we did, we were fortunate to have our whole year in person, to see our friends everyday.”
Despite it’s many challenges, it was preferable to the year before, when COVID saw students abruptly leave school and head to online learning from home.
While a normal school year would have been preferable, Archibald says that he feels fortunate that they were able to have some semblance of normalcy by returning to the classroom and getting to see friends and classmates every day.
“This year was a lot better from the year before, despite it’s challenges, there are some memories that I made that I will never forget, which you didn’t get the chance to do last year,” said Archibald.
“Being stuck at home, it was tough for a lot of people, it took it’s toll on a lot of people’s mental health and grades.
“Even though it wasn’t what we expected out of a senior year, these memories are going to stick with us.”
Being in person allowed classmates to help boost each other up, says Archibald, with morale staying relatively high among the graduating class.
“We had some people in the grade who were really energetic and always wanted to lighten the mood when things got tough,” said Archibald.
“We all tried to make the best of the uncertainty, you just have to stay focused on the positives and not dwell on the things that you can’t control. It was certainly an odd grad year, but it was the best year we could have had.”
While many events were cancelled that were typical rites of passage for a graduating class, he says his classmates were still able to organize small COVID-friendly events, with help and support from the community.
While graduation still hasn’t fully sunk in yet for Archibald, he says that the whole class will have many life lessons to take away from the unique year they all shared.
“We’re all excited to get started on our next steps after the last year, with all the impatience to get here, it’s been hard, but we’re all excited to get going.”