The Arlington High School Class of 2021 received their diplomas as part of the school’s recent commencement ceremony on June 10.
Students shared memories and celebrated the four years they spent at the school.
“As I leave Arlington I’ll always remember the epic traffic jams as we were trying to leave school. I mean who designs a high school with only one entrance and exit,” said valedictorian Daniel Schweizer.
Principal Duane Fish first started at the school when the Class of 2021 were freshman.
“Four years ago we were all in the gym and I was introducing myself as your new principal,” he said. “I said ‘together let’s make Arlington High School exactly what you want it to be.'"
He applauded the work of students who have helped to improve the school over the years.
“Your hard work has truly brightened our campus and made it more beautiful,” said Fish.
Students have helped design graphics, make visual improvements and upgrade various aspects of the school.
“All of these projects may seem small on their face, but they’re important and contributed immensely to the improvement of our school culture,” he said.
The school has a new identity after four years because of the class.
“When we arrived on campus together it wasn’t clear who we are or what we’re about, but look at us now,” said Fish. “Everybody who sets foot on campus knows who we are."
Valedictorian Amelia Bryant said the experience was never perfect, but she will remember Arlington High School fondly.
“I could choose to say I wasn’t the best at sports and I wasn’t really popular so these last four years have all been for nothing,” said Bryant. “But you don’t have to be the prom queen or the varsity quarterback to have a great experience."
Her time at the school was good and she appreciates the friends she made.
“I met amazing people I will remember for the rest of my life,” said Bryant. “The only thing that really matters is you do what you enjoy instead of doing what other people think you should do."
For graduates it was a long four-year journey.
“Freshman year was all about finding your rhythm,” said valedictorian Paige Richards.
“We were more focused on finding a student seat than the path that lay in front of us,” said valedictorian Heather Broyles.
However, as the class became juniors, the pandemic would change what they expected.
“Our junior year finished with awkward break out rooms and blank screens,” said Richards. “Our screen time went from two hours to six hours."
Students adapted to the new online learning experience.
“We quickly learned how to turn off our Wi-Fi so our teachers didn’t realize that we had left the room,” said Richards.
Schweizer said students have learned how to be adaptable and make it through tough times because of their final years at the school.
“We’ve gone through one of the most tumultuous times in history with division over race, politics and a global pandemic,” he said. “Our entire world basically got shut down and we got the short end of the stick with losing both our junior and senior proms, shortening our sports seasons and having to stay away from our friends."