COVID-19 did not stop Huntley’s graduation ceremony

Gretchen Sweeney, Staff writer

Tears fall down parents’ faces as they reminisce on when their child grew up as they watch them walk across the stage. The merciless sun beats down on the graduation caps of the Class of 2021 as they say their last goodbyes to Huntley High School this past Saturday. 

This year’s Graduation was unlike any graduation Huntley has seen this far. The Class of 2021 was split into three time slots, 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 6 p.m. for their graduation. The ceremony took place at the Raider Stadium where they built a black stage and set out hundreds of chairs. The front of the stage was decorated with little trees and pink and purple flowers, along with the American flag.The seniors took up 6 long rows of chairs in front of the stage. The grad’s families were closely behind either on chairs that were grouped in fours and socially distance on the field or in the bleachers. 

A large screen next to the stage projected the ceremony and videos that were pre-filmed for the ceremony. The band played and the screen projected Dr.Belin marching a few employees and the students to the chairs and stage. 

The ceremony starts with the Pledge of Allegiance given by a student speaker. Shortly after, the graduation speaker goes on about their triumphs of high school and how they will miss their peers. Then, Dr. Belin gave a brief speech on how this is only the beginning  for the grads and that they are our future to take on the adversities of our troubled world. 

The choir would usually perform a song at the graduation, but this year they changed it up a bit. They sang “Seasons of Love” and it was pre-recorded from the theatre. This was convenient for the ceremony and made the acoustics so much better. 

The Class of 2021 gift this year was $2,500 put towards banners on the light poles in the school parking lot. This adds a touch of school pride to the area and a memorable gift. 

Sadly in January 2021, senior Shrey Desai passed away. He was an asset to the Class of 2021. In his honor and memory, Dr. Belin has enacted a $1,000 memorial scholarship. This scholarship represents bravery and being yourself without the worry of others opinions. The winner of this award was Owen Cravens. 

Academy graduates were asked to stand and applauded for their hard work and accomplishments. This year marks the first year that a member of the global academy has graduated. The “Latin GPA Award” students were applauded as well for their devotion to their academics. 

Finally, there were the diplomas given out to all the graduates. The class was cut into ⅓ so it was a fairly quick process. It was done the same way as it usually is with the students being called up one by one and given their diploma. 

Overall, the Graduation was ran differently than usual but still successful. It was an adversity, like many things this year. But COVID-19 did not take away this years seniors’ chance to walk the stage.