Class of ’21 has shown its resilience

We’re in the midst of high school graduation season.

The Class of 2021 should be saluted for its endurance of the COVID-19 pandemic, which pretty much wrecked the high school careers of our seniors, who dealt with it for much of the last two academic years.

Thankfully, we’re finally coming out of it, and while concerns to exercise good judgment and precautions remain, we hope the end of the high school calendar year marks a new and much-needed beginning and resumption of normalcy.

Graduation is typically accompanied by mixed emotions for students and families throughout the region.

There will be tears of joy and sadness — joy of reaching a milestone and sadness that they and their classmates will go their separate ways after years of being together.

In many cases, that beginning will lead students out of the house and out of their parents’ daily care for the first time as the young adults pursue their next challenges.

Whether it’s next week or in a couple of months, that separation comes with trepidation for both students and their families — especially for students heading off to the military.

Graduation will also bring a sense of pride in the achievement of not only the various award winners — valedictorians, salutatorians or honor roll students — but of every student who is standing tall, wearing a cap and gown.

There will be nostalgia, of remembering the days when yellow school buses took today’s seniors off to first grade, of the innocence this year’s graduates once had, of yesterday’s need for guidance replaced by today’s independence.

In some cases, there will be relief, too, as the yearn to learn unfortunately doesn’t always remain vibrant when students are in high school, creating bumps in the road that make just getting to this day a little more taxing.

We salute those students for their perseverance, too.

There is no set formula for a successful career path. Just because a student is No. 1 in the class doesn’t guarantee a doctoral degree. Nor is the student who found himself in detention more than a few times destined to failure.

There are positive and negative foundations that can be built upon and overcome.

With the almost-daily changes in information technology, life for today’s students is moving much faster than the days when their parents and grandparents were children, adding to the challenges and opportunities that await.

The fact that this class dealt with a pandemic underscores the cold reality that life is not always fair — and in some unfortunate instances, it is very unfair — but also may serve to help those in it adjust to more unforeseen circumstances down the road.

Because they have already shown they can.

We congratulate the Class of 2021 and wish the graduates well in their future endeavors.

And just one more thing: Don’t drive too fast.


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