Dunedin High Class of 2021 Graduates!
St. Petersburg – The Class of 2021 — as they gather for hastily organized graduation ceremonies on the cusp of “getting back to normal”— graduates are emerging six feet apart into the sunlight of football fields, plazas and stadiums in caps, gowns and masks after a year of pandemic isolation, robbed of so many milestones of American high school life.
Except graduation. They, unlike last year’s class, were able to carry out this time-honored tradition.
They have managed to get accepted to college, overcome Fs, deal with trauma, navigate the rules of drive-through socializing. Some lost a loved one, made a new friend. For many, the final act of their up-ended high school education was mass gathering of their entire class since March 2020.
None of the graduation ceremony of what they endured over the last year could stop the exultation of a senior class forged by the COVID-19 pandemic. They indeed were forged by adversity. They improvised, adapted, and overcame all obstacles in front of them.
The scene appeared pretty normal recently at Tropicana Field for the class and family members as they carried signs and flowers and assembled in the stadium seats. They cheered when their senior’s name was called.
Then, the most hopeful sign of all: Dressed in red and black gowns, the Class of 2021 just couldn’t resist. They clumped together in groups at the end of the ceremony and hugged one another after tossing their caps with vigor into the air.
This amazing class had 30 Summa Cum Laude, 26 Magna Cum Laude, 43 Cum Laude, and 32 students graduate with distinction. One-third graduated with honors. Way to go!!