‘Through All We Have Lost, We Have Learned’: Senior Graduates Overcome Abnormal Year
June 8, 2021
After an abnormal year of switching through different levels of instruction, mask-wearing and other adjustments due to COVID-19, the senior class of 2021 got their opportunity to walk across the stage. Graduates, faculty and loved ones gathered for Liberty’s Fifth Annual Commencement Ceremony on June 6 at the St. Charles Family Arena.
Seniors sat socially distanced on the arena floor and enjoyed the comfort of a mask-optional rule, taking one step closer to a sense of pre-COVID normalcy. The ceremony was live streamed on the Family Arena’s Youtube account for those who could not attend, due to the restriction of tickets per family.
Festivities began as principal Dr. Nelson welcomed the graduates and their families. He expressed his appreciation of the facility, and commended the families’ dedication towards honoring the seniors in spite of the year they had.
“I recognize you have missed many opportunities to come together and celebrate this school year, but know our hearts have been with you and your families during this most difficult time,” said Nelson.
Social Studies teacher Mr. Barker was selected by the seniors to deliver the keynote speech. Barker admitted that although he was nervous, he was also excited and honored to be the speaker. He acknowledged the difficulty of the past year in his speech, stating, “This year was hard, and we struggled. But the struggle is gonna make you strong.”
He then went on to speak about the four stages of life, leaving pieces of advice for each, and then ending with a piece of wisdom as they head into the next stage of independence: “Take every opportunity. Collect every key because one key belongs to one door, and if you collect enough keys, you get to walk through the door in life that you choose, not the one that’s left over.”
Meghan Coyle, the elected senior speaker, congratulated her fellow classmates for all they have accomplished.
“Despite all the ups and downs, and the crazy obstacles, we’re still here and we’re still graduating. So go us,” Coyle said.
She recounted some of the accomplishments of the graduating class, such as those of Sarvani Kunapareddy, Ianna Salvosa, and Wyatt Haynes. Coyle left her peers on an uplifting note, reminiscing on how this whole experience was worth it, no matter how difficult it was.
“I know this year wasn’t what any of us envisioned, and I’m not going to tell you to be okay with that. We lost a milestone year,” Coyle said. “But through all we have lost, we have learned. We have learned to take advantage of the moments that arise…The world will never be perfect for us and we will always have to learn to adapt. That’s the beauty of it.”
Watch the ceremony here: