Izzie Kinsey, 18, tugged on the locket that held a photograph of her dad James close to her 2021 tassel, smiled and stepped onto the baseball area Friday evening.
Lemon Bay Excessive Faculty class secretary Emma Sweiderk, 18, regarded down on the senior class picture of the late Spencer Stephens she had pinned to her commencement gown and regarded up on the sky.
After introducing dignitaries on the LBHS commencement on the Charlotte Sports activities Park, Principal Bob Bedford requested for a second of silence to recollect 18-year-old Kylee Bontjes who handed away on Nov. 2.
For some like Kinsey and Sweiderk, the Lemon Bay Excessive Faculty commencement was additionally simply as a lot of a celebration because it was a tribute to misplaced family members.
“Spencer was my greatest pal,” mentioned Sweiderk of the 2019 homecoming king who died Nov. 30 in a site visitors crash. “I obtained a scholarship in his identify. He’s right here with me tonight.”
At commencement, Sweiderk messaged with Stephens’ mother and father. All of them cried tears of pleasure.
Kinsey, who plans on taking a 12 months off to journey, mentioned her dad died when she was youthful however she nonetheless feels near him.
“He all the time believed in me and supported me,” she mentioned. “I simply needed him to know I did it. I graduated.”
For 3 buddies Samuel Mack, 17, Trenton Rex, 18, and Richard Winder, 18, their days of working behind the scenes of the college tv information are over. However their friendship is robust.
“We’re all going to State Faculty of Florida,” mentioned Rex, who’s finding out schooling, together with Mack, who needs to enter movie research and Winder who needs to show historical past.
The trio remembers being informed to not get political over the “masks mandates” and different scorching subjects this 12 months.
“We may solely speak about present occasions, however couldn’t do commentary or satire about them,” Rex mentioned.
Rex and Mack listened as Winder, the category president, delivered his speech from the rostrum.
“Little doubt that this 12 months has been totally different,” Winder mentioned. “We had our junior 12 months minimize brief, we couldn’t see our buddies for months. We have been made to sit down in entrance of a display to be taught. We didn’t get homecoming, senior elf get together, a goodbye meeting. We wouldn’t have had a promenade if it wasn’t for the fantastic Englewood neighborhood. However we made the very best of it.”
After Nicole Darna belted out the nationwide anthem, Bedford informed the category they shattered a report with 213 college students, or 93% of the category, graduating faculty prepared.
“The commencement charge is 97%,” Bedford mentioned. “We had 152 college students with a 3.0 grade level common, 90 with a 3.5 and 31 with a 4.0. The typical GPA was a 3.25. Over 4 years we had 24 groups that went to the district championships.”
Bedford mentioned regardless of the pandemic, seniors nonetheless gave 25,659 neighborhood service hours with two college students every volunteering 950 hours.
Graduates Lilly Crady, 19, who’s off to State Faculty of Florida to check artwork and enterprise, and Sarah Colbert, 18, mentioned the category of 2021 is a bit more edgy.
“I’m going to personal my very own tattoo store,” Colbert mentioned. “It would have a restaurant with a bakery on one aspect so company can get a espresso whereas their pal is getting a tattoo. I’ve all of it discovered.”