EAST ROCKHILL — They persevered and succeeded.
"Instead of Pomp and Circumstance, I've been calling today's graduation celebration Pomp in spite of the Circumstances," Pennridge Superintendent David Bolton told this year's graduates during the June 15 commencement ceremony in the high school's Helman Field at Grand View Health Stadium.
"Your class has shown perseverance through every situation you have been dealt," Bolton said.
He also gave the 619 graduates a final assignment.
"The assignment is how you will choose to live the rest of your life," Bolton said.
"This assignment is not easy, but it is vital," he said. "You are responsible for whatever the Pennridge community and our world become in the future."
Class of 2021 Principal Scott Hegen noted the importance of family, teachers and coaches on the students' lives.
"Class of 2021, my words of wisdom for you are rather simple. You have found success with the support systems in and around our school community, but as you move forward in life, you need to keep working to find people to fulfill those roles," Hegen said. "Whether you go to college, trade school, the workplace or the military, you need to identify people who will continue to lead you, to push you and to counsel you. This is the key to life."
"This class is strong and one day we will shape the future," Class President Jeffrey Ramos said in his speech, listing accomplishments, including having in the past four years raised more than $189,000 through Pennridge Mini-THON to fight pediatric cancer. He also noted that school and state history were made at this year's prom with the naming of a same sex prom royalty couple.
"We started this year a little better than we ended the last. Many of us were together, masked, walking in one-way hallways, and getting our lunches to go, but we were together," Pennridge High School Principal Stephen Cashman wrote in his Letter to the Class of 2021.
"As the year moved forward, I slowly noticed something. You, the Class of 2021, were not going to let anything define your senior year. You focused on the year and you focused on each other," he said. "This was going to be your year regardless of COVID-19. We had sports, clubs, committees, a school play, college signings, and college acceptances. We had Mini-Thon, Mr. Pennridge, and even a prom! And here we are in person, together, for your graduation."
While he sure's there were times the class members wanted to complain, all he saw was students trying to make things the best they could and to do it together, he said.
"You taught us that no matter how different life is, being together makes everything better academically and socially," Cashman said. "You taught us that although the year may look different, it doesn't matter as long as we are together in our shared community. You taught us that we make everything better when we are together."