A tribute to seniors, the Class of 2021


Photo by Joel Bierbower

(almost) Every East High 2021 Graduate!

In August 2008, a new class of students entered the doors of various schools embarking on their educational journey. Over the course of the past 12 and a half years, so much has happened. Endless learning and growing, the formation of lifelong bonds, the creation of new traditions, and impactful events that will be remembered forever.
But in March of 2020, we were informed about a pandemic, which resulted in the separation of friends and family as well as isolation amid the unknown. The news that coincided with Spring Break turned into a long pause, and that’s when everything took a turn for the worse. Prom was cancelled, spring sports were called off, and graduation was postponed. Junior students ended their year with uncertainty about the future, and the unknown of what their senior year would become.
Everyone learned to adapt and become flexible, suddenly experts in Zoom and all things remote. And during that time, they learned much more than they have ever thought possible. In the fall, alternating in-person and remote learning began to take shape as students accepted this new norm. Without the typical activities and interaction with peers, many students realized how much they missed it all. In a way, being isolated brought everyone closer together.
This year’s seniors may be comparable to other classes who have endured all these same changes, however, there is a much deeper meaning to what the class of 2021 has both experienced and accomplished. On the cusp of their final year and last chance to participate, most life-changing memories and anticipated events were modified, simplified or cancelled.
“What makes the class of 2021 important is their sense of perseverance,” East High principal Susan Cassata said. “What they have had to work through to have any type of normal is good. And knowing this class will be the ones who problem-solve this type of situation, event, global situation in the future, I have great faith in their skill, passion, and resolve.”
We’ve learned a lot this past year, and these lessons will last a lifetime. Never taking anything for granted, and being thankful for opportunities – big and small. The importance of our health as well as our choices, words, and interactions with one another. But most of all, the pandemic opened our eyes and made us more aware of the world and how small it can become almost overnight.
There will always be new seniors. A new group of unique and innovative students will have their stories told and remembered. There will continue to be strong, young minds striving to make the world a better place. They will become the backbone of this nation, making a difference in their respective states and communities. The legacy of the class of 2021 will live on, as well as every class that follows.
Advice to future seniors from current seniors:
“As all say, these four years go by so fast so really soak it in! Don’t let anything or anyone hold you back from being you! High school is where some of your most exciting memories are held so really let yourself experience those! Most importantly, don’t let your mistakes define who you are but let them allow you to grow. I wish you the best of luck!” (Emily Vaggalis, Apollonaire)
“Make the most of your opportunities, be thoughtful of others, and stay true to yourself.” (Chase Kavanaugh, Senior Class President)
“You are very young. And small.” (Jingming Yu, Artist)
“Don’t worry and just let it happen.” (Hayden Korn, Trendsetter)
“Live in the moment and take in every experience. Live your life to the fullest and do not let anything get in the way of what you are passionate about.” (Cambry Waddell, Student Council President)
“Treasure this last year because it goes by pretty fast.” (Quinton Adams, Basketball and Football player)
“Live in the moment and take time to enjoy the little things in life.” (Haley Peterson, Basketball and LEGS player)
“Never be afraid of the future and the unknown of it all. Make the most of your last year and leave with sealed amends.” (Hayden Rooney, Actor and Musical Performer)