As friends and family cheered from the stands, the Westfield High School Class of 2021 gathered at Gary Kehler Stadium on June 23 under picture perfect skies to receive their diplomas.
“This summer, I hope you take some time to reflect and give yourself credit for what you have accomplished in the past 15 months,” said Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan in a commencement address to the 449 graduating seniors. “You attended your classes-in person and remotely. You created virtual concerts and plays. You followed the many rules for practices and competitions for your sport. You determined that community service was still possible with social distancing. Some of you had to take on additional responsibilities as family members became ill or family circumstances changed.”
Dolan – who is retiring on July 1 after 25 years in the Westfield Public Schools,14 years as Superintendent – reminded the students of lessons they have learned together.
“Don’t listen to those who tell you that you can’t get something done. Work hard with those around you to prove them wrong,” she said. “Take the opportunities offered you. Continue to learn new things and join new groups.”
She encouraged the 12th graders to “understand that loss is part of life” and not to take “any day or anyone for granted.”
“And when you find yourself looking squarely at a challenge and are not sure you can deal with it, remind yourself that you have faced a pandemic, that you were determined, that you did the seemingly impossible and that you have come out on the other side better and wiser,” she added. “You will achieve your goals.”
WHS principal Mary Asfendis listed the many student achievements and honors and congratulated the Class of 2021 on their hard work during a challenging year.
Senior Class President Lily Ceraso and Student Government President Jordan Horowitz reflected on the past four years and what the future may hold.
“As we look to the future, the only certainty is that it is unwritten,” said Horowitz. “Whether you intend to go to college next year or have other plans in mind, no matter where the world takes you, we will all share a common thread forever. This thread is bound by connections and friendships we have developed here in high school and during our time in middle and elementary school.”
Students from the Westfield High School Band and Orchestra performed the graduation processional and recessional and the National Anthem while the WHS Choir Class of 2021 sang “Unwritten.”
CLICK HERE for a Class of 2021 graduation photo album.