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Class of 2021

180 days of different

POMEROY–The class of "180 days of different", otherwise known as the graduating Class of 2021, walked into the high school gymnasium for the last time as students during their commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 5, 2021, at 2:30 p.m.

The graduation ceremony was the final act to receiving their long-awaited and deserved high school diploma. The final week started with their last day of formal school on June 2 followed by rehearsal and lunch on Thursday, June 3, then on Saturday, June 5, a full day of preparation, the Senior Truck Parade at 1:45 p.m., the graduation ceremony, filled with Pomp and Circumstance on Saturday, June 5, 2021, at 2:30 p.m. Those who attended were led in the Pledge of Allegiance by ASB President and Salutatorian Tyson Kimble, then welcomed by Senior Class President McKenzie Watko. She spoke these words to her class and all who attended:

"On behalf of the Class of 2021, I would like to thank you for your presence at our Graduation Ceremony today. Your attendance means a lot to us. Special thanks to the many people who helped make today possible, especially Jim Collins, Amy Miller, Toddette McGreevy, all of the teachers and staff, and our family and friends."

Tyson Kimble returned to the podium once more to give his Salutatorian Address.

"I would like to start by welcoming and thanking all of the family, staff, and other guests that have come to watch the class of 2021 start a new chapter in our lives, as it is one of the biggest days we will ever have.

When I first moved here in 2015, some pretty negative things were said to me and my parents about the class that I was going to be joining. I was told that my class had the lowest state test scores, and that this group was not very smart and couldn't seem to do anything right. The class of 2021 had a reputation of being a bunch of trouble makers who would never mature and would be in and out of trouble throughout high school. Maybe we aren't the smartest class ever, and we got in some trouble every once in a while, but what class doesn't? However, if there is one thing that I have learned from being with this group for six years, it is that we are the class that proves people wrong.

We may be small in numbers; however, we are full of talent, perseverance, and determination. Out of this small group, four of us were on the team that saved Pomeroy football three years ago. This year in football we were 4-1 and were ranked 5th in the state by the end of the season. We have multiple girls that competed on the volleyball team, and have been a part of three state placing teams, including a state championship. Some seated before you, have been a part of state placing baseball, softball, track, wrestling and basketball teams. We have seven FFA members that are competitive livestock showmen and a few that were on state placing teams for various FFA events. Also, among this group are some very talented artists who can draw better than anyone I know. Our class is full of distinguished academics, as there are four people in the National Honor Society, along with multiple people on the honor roll.

We will strive to fulfill our goals and dreams. Every person in the class of 2021 is passionate about something. Whether it be getting a job, going to a trade school, or going on to pursue college, every person will strive to complete their goals. Seated on this stage are some of the best future artists, nurses, teachers, welders, ranchers, physical therapists, psychologists, real estate agents, diesel mechanics... and mixologists. On top of our professional passions, we strive to be the best future husbands, wives, school board members, committee members, leaders, and mentors.

This class sitting before you is a great example of resilience. School got shut down last spring because of COVID, and instead of drifting apart, it galvanized us and brought us closer. From late night bonfires with my classmates, to long nights of coyote hunting, and from hunting trips to shopping trips, we joined together. As the world was telling us to stay apart, we took the opportunity to come together. We didn't do this without a strong supportive group around us. We, the class of 2021, would like to thank this community and the staff of Pomeroy School District. They have been dedicated to our success since day one. We realize that today is about the most remarkable. It is not about the graduates seated before you, but everyone seated around us. Most of you have become rooted in our lives through support, encouragement, and care. Thank you for all that you have done."

His classmates smiled and nodded at times, recognizing how many obstacles they had overcome, knowing their resilience and who they have become––conquerors.

It wasn't only students who endured the "180 days of different," it was the school staff, parents, siblings and the many friends of the graduating class. High School Principal Amy Miller expressed her gratitude to her staff and all those who supported each student through the years. But she was most grateful to the students who took it upon themselves to see every year through and encouraged them to continue to be brazen through their lives saying"...I also want to thank the most important people here today, the graduates who have learned that living bold isn't easy. Thank you for allowing me to learn something new, fail forward, and be bold with you. I know that you will take all of these life lessons with you in your next adventure. Remember, when you live bold you may fail, but failure means you are trying, and each time you fall you learn something new. Dream big dreams, set wild goals, and when you fall stand back up and do it all over again. Remember that your hard work will help you achieve anything and you will always be improving along the way! Don't fear what others say or think about you; don't let the opinions of others control your actions. Be you, be bold, and be amazing!

Each of you will go a different direction when you leave Pomeroy High, but I hope that you will take with you the lessons learned at PHS and do great things. Be the person who shows up in life, be the person who never asks permission to be yourself, be the person who is always learning, be the person that both your 10-year-old self and your 90-year-old self will be proud of. Most importantly, be you!

I am excited to wish you luck and success in your future. I can't wait to see where your journey will take you and the success you'll have along the way. Congratulations, Class of 2021, go out and BE BOLD!

Valedictorian Nick Vendeland agreed with Principal Miller, acknowledging what he and his classmates endured, not only through the COVID-19 incident, but through everyday occurrences, all to mold them in what they are and will become in the future.

"Good afternoon, dear staff, family, friends, and graduates. It is an honor to be speaking with you here today. Graduates of the class of 2021, CONGRATULATIONS!!!

I was told two months ago that I would need to start writing a speech for graduation. This might come as a surprise to some of you in the audience, especially Kyle and Carrie Kimble who were very adamant to Tyson last week that "Nick is probably already finished with his speech!" but I started this speech on Thursday.

Now I guess I should try to be a little bit inspirational while I'm up here.

Class of 2021, we've been through a lot together over the past six years we have been in this building. Whether it be Lamunyan scaring you in class, Mr. Bates "accidentally" hitting someone with the clay ball, learning about Mr. Crossfield's adventures with anesthesia, or even Noah's many attempts at almost burning the Ag shop down, we have seen it all.

If I had to choose one word to describe our class, it would have to be Endure. All of us have faced our own individual challenges. The first example that comes to my mind are the season-ending injuries that too many of our class had to face.

The biggest challenge that our class has endured has to be the pandemic. When we walked out of the school on March 13th, we had no idea how the pandemic was going to affect the rest of our high school career. Some of us spent weeks online due to quarantine. Some of us missed out on a true senior season for sports. Through all of the adversity, we pushed on, and now is a time to celebrate.

There is a silver lining, however. When our kids complain about having to go to school when it's snowing, we can say, "We had to go to school during a global pandemic, you can go to school while it's a bit cold outside."

I would also like to thank the parents and guardians of the students, and to the teachers and staff of Pomeroy High School. We could not have done this without you.

Congratulations again to the Class of 2021. We did it!"

Pomeroy School District Superintendent Rachel Gwinn said it best: "The class of have experienced masks, you have experienced classrooms with desks six feet apart, you have experienced excessive use of hand-sanitizer, but more importantly, you have experienced an education that will help you be successful. I ask that today, and every day moving forward, you do not dwell on what could have been for your senior year, but you reminisce on the memories you made and the experiences that have made you who you are today..."The board of directors, administration and staff of Pomeroy School District are proud of your resilience and grit of experiencing 180 days of a "different" school year. Be proud, be confident, and go be a good one."

Toddette McGreevy, Senior Class Advisor, made the roll call for the Class of 2021 for the final time..."The Class of 2021 have made the best of this year. There have been challenges, but they have overcome them, and the young men and women who are before you are excited to begin the chapters ahead. The last few months have flown by, and what once seemed an event that was far away, is here. I wish you all the best. But, remember, the best is yet to come!

It is my pleasure to call the roll for the Pomeroy High School Class of 2021, for the final time."

The graduating class took a giant step toward their future when they accepted a high school diploma signifying, they came together, they strived, they endured, they conquered, and they persevered "180 days of different." As each high school senior took their place in line, fully masked, they did so with confidence and assurance they have learned how to make their mark in the world no matter how difficult or where they land. They are the class that does not know the word "can't". They are the Class of 2021.