Congratulations Class of 2021 - Graduation Ceremonies Offer Sense of Normalcy, Exhilaration
Nothing in life is guaranteed! This is a realization that the Class of 2021 learned over the last year and a half in the midst of the COVID pandemic. And while these students’ senior year was filled with delays, distractions and social distancing, the graduation ceremonies held June 2nd - 4th to honor them provided a sense of normalcy, and it was an exhilarating feeling for all those in attendance.
Superintendent Marcus Chambers championed the effort to hold traditional graduation ceremonies and was thrilled with the outcome. “Our principals and school staffs did an outstanding job giving our deserving seniors and their families a great send-off. It was the perfect ending to a challenging school year, and I am so proud of these young men and women. They have been extremely resilient!” These graduation ceremonies took place on the heels of a visit to Okaloosa County from Governor DeSantis who applauded teachers and schools for the job done this year with face-to-face instruction.
Niceville High School
Principal Charlie Marello shared that “the Niceville High School graduation ceremony was a HUGE success, and we were all very excited to celebrate our Eagle seniors in front of their families, friends, and loved ones.”
Choctawhatchee High School
International Baccalaureate student Caroline Neale, who graduated Suma Cume Laude at Choctawahtchee High School, was the Yearbook Editor, and played for the Volleyball team, was happy with her graduation experience. “I was very impressed with the way that graduation was run. The administration went to great lengths to make the ceremony as special as it had been before the pandemic. Coming off of last year, I hoped that many of the restrictions that were put in place at the height of the pandemic would be lifted as things are looking to be getting better, and that is just what we got, a little bit of a return to normalcy!”
“Our Class of 2021 had an unquestionably unique Senior year where they were challenged at every turn” said Principal Michelle Heck. “I was thrilled that we had the opportunity to celebrate all of their accomplishments with a traditional Choctaw Graduation ceremony this past week! As a community and a school, we are so proud of our Big Green Indians!”
Laurel Hill School
Lee Martello, Principal of Laurel Hill School praised her students’ character as 100% of their seniors graduated on Friday night. “The 2020/2021 school year has been nothing short of challenging. Today’s seniors had every opportunity to accept the excuses given to them by a worldwide pandemic. Instead, the Laurel Hill Seniors continued to work hard, embrace change and leave their mark on our small community. I am proud of these Hoboes for not worrying about what life was supposed to be, but enjoying every minute and accepting what it was!”
“With all that the graduates of 2021 have missed out on over the last year and a half of school, we worked extra hard to make this Commencement Ceremony special” said Principal of Baker School, Mike Martello. “Having persevered through such adversity and uncertainty, the Class of 2021 will be able to overcome any obstacle and achieve great things.” Senior Lauren Adams, a multisport athlete and Summa Cum Laude graduate appreciated the administration’s extra effort. “Considering the year we have had, it was a huge blessing to be able to have a normal graduation. [It was] such a special feeling to be surrounded by our community on this night. We were all so excited to have one last high school memory together. The best part was when we tossed our caps in the air and the skies filled with fireworks! A moment we will never forget! Thank you to everyone who made this night possible. We are so grateful for you!”
Crestview High School
The excitement of the evening flooded the stadium at Crestview High School and school spirit was evident as students entered to receive their diplomas. Principal Dexter Day graduated his final class on Friday night as he will retire this year. He has done amazing things for the school and will be missed!
Fort Walton Beach High School
As Mr. John Spolski, Principal of Fort Walton Beach High School put it, “graduation night is a culmination of emotions that’s hard to put into words. Students, parents, teachers and friends all get together to celebrate an end that also transforms into a new beginning. When seniors leave our Viking family it’s hard to say goodbye, but we know they’ll go out into the world and make us proud.”
Silver Sands School
Principal Stephanie Wheat stated, "Our students have worked so hard to achieve their educational and independent accomplishments. The faculty and staff get emotional thinking about how far they have come. It is such a joy to watch the graduates and their families as they celebrate this momentous occasion. Silver Sands is so proud of our Seahorses!"<
Principal Amy Anderson said, "We are so proud of our Richbourg Lion graduates! They have worked so hard and we are so happy to celebrate them with their families, students and the community. This has been an amazing year and our graduates have inspired our students and staff to continue to teach and learn from each other. Congratulations Richbourg graduates!"
That is what the Okaloosa County School District strives to do for each student: ensure that they have the skills required to enter the community and contribute in an impactful and positive way. Congratulations Graduates, we are proud of you and wish you luck in your future endeavors!