‘Anything but orthodox’: Class of 2022 overcomes pandemic to reach graduation day
After four years of a high school experience that’s largely been upended by the outbreak of COVID-19, seniors from the class of 2022 were able to join together, and move the tassels from the right to left side of their caps before tossing them into the air.
North Tahoe High School kicked off this month’s graduation ceremonies with an event on June 9.
“These last four years have been anything but orthodox,” said Associated Student Body President Declan McGarry, “However, they taught us a valuable lesson — nothing can be taken for granted. Whether it is health, school, work, or friends, it is our wish that you cherish every moment of it, because you never know when your world may be turned upside down.”
Many who spoke during the Lakers’ graduation ceremony talked about the impact COVID-19 had on their high school experience. As sophomores, their school year was derailed by the pandemic as school days switched from in-person learning to online meetings. Sports seasons and all other events for the year were canceled.
“For the first time in my life, I woke every day wishing we could go back to school,” said Melissa Ponce, senior class vice president.
Seniors from Truckee High School graduated on Saturday, and like their peers from North Tahoe, talked about going through high school amid the pandemic.
“Waking up and pressing join on a Google meet became the new norm,” said Lucy Demm, senior class president. “Since then, it has been a wild ride from lockdown to distance learning to hybrid, social distancing to 10-day quarantines and countless Google classroom assignments. While masks in school, Plexiglas around our desks and COVID protocols continued to rule our junior year, as upperclassmen we started to become closer as a class because we were fortunate enough to return to in-person learning … in the end the pandemic has really given us a great appreciation for our time together. High school was joyous, overwhelming, exciting, stressful, and rewarding, filled with heartbreaks and triumphs, struggles and success, and now we have turned a page in our life. We have transitioned from childhood into adulthood and it is time to find our passion. It’s time to learn what we want to be.”
Sierra High, Coldstream Alternative, Tahoe Truckee Adult School, and Tahoe Truckee Community School students received their diplomas on Wednesday during a combined ceremony. COVID-19 was a topic often brought up during time spent at the podium.
“Spring of 2020 was about supporting to each other, communicating as much as possible, and coming to the realization that our reality was mask requirements, changing school schedules, hybrid schedules, Google meets, testing for COVID, temporary business closures — this was our new reality,” said Sierra High senior Angela Rodriguez. “But look at us now. Here we are right here at graduation … congratulations class of 2022. We made it.”
Justin Scacco is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at email@example.com
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