"Success Doesn't Come Easily!"
The Class of 2021 Graduates 231 Members!
As he stood high atop the day's biggest stage on the grounds which, because of 15 months gone by were even more significant in meaning, faculty chosen speaker, Julian Gonzales, looked out at a sea of blue and gold and quickly cut to the reality of the occasion, "Here we all are at a graduation ceremony like no other." Spread within his candid words, Gonzales punctuated the point that the 231 members comprising the Class of 2021 were all together, one final time, on the campus where their high school days began. As he spoke about culminating an educational journey 13 years and one pandemic in the making, Gonzales reminisced about the experiences shared by this year's group of graduates. Instead of speaking about what was lost, Gonzales spoke about success, challenge and unexpected circumstance that came the Class' way over the years. He explained how all the different experiences, some easy, some fun, some difficult, contributed to making the graduates strong individuals. And, as Gonzales celebrated the Class' past, which he explained provides a foundation for the future, he stood in the graduation moment and shared a piece of truth only learned in the culmination of time, "Success," he said, "doesn't come easy."
Following Gonzales' address, Rylee Kotzin, class chosen speaker, reflected on this group of graduates as being a Class of Firsts. With that she acknowledged this year's seniors were the first in Selah's history to persevere through a global pandemic, including an entire school year. Kotzin pointed to the group's resiliency and its ability to endure, as well as its appreciation this year for simple experiences: walking the high school hallways, returning to classrooms, seeing friends and teachers, and representing Selah in sports. In her final words Kotzin exclaimed, "Class of 2021, it's your time to live!"
In his address to graduates, Superintendent, Shane Backlund, acknowledged that no one pretends it has been an easy year for high school students, especially seniors. Backlund commended the Class for its perseverance during a year with a lot of change. Backlund praised the seniors on their grit, resiliency, and how they functioned and succeeded in less than ideal circumstances. Through their experience, Backlund told the Class of the opportunities that await them and he expressed confidence that they were equipped with the knowledge, skills, and experience to proceed to the future.
Prior to the announcement of graduates, Principal, Colton Monti said that the Class of 2021 would always have a special place in his heart. Monti shared that since their time together at Selah Intermediate School, when he first formed a connection with the group, he knew they were special kids. Monti furthered his message by commending graduates for their perseverance and determination and explained that in the face of uncertainty there is unpredictability and challenge, but also growth opportunity. Monti challenged students to always continue growing.
As this year's graduates prepare for life's next step, they are certainly equipped with the experience to navigate challenging times. After all, they spent a span of two springs doing such. After years of hard work, including bumps with adversity along the way, and maneuvering through the past 15 months of uncertainty and change, in their achievement, there is one thing the Class of 2021 undeniably understands, "Success doesn't come easily."