Despite postponements on both June 10 and 11, Milford High School Class of 2021 celebrated their commencement ceremony at Brigg’s Stadium on Sat. June 12 at 10 AM. Principal Jesse Parsley welcomed the graduates and families in attendance, commending the students on completing their education during an unprecedented time.
“To the great class of 2021, on behalf of the Milford School Board of Education, congratulations on your graduation,” Dr. Kevin Dickerson, Superintendent, said. “Please cherish this great occasion. We are very proud of each of you for persevering through and overcoming the challenges you have faced during your high school experience to earn your high school diploma. We are very proud of each and every one of you for the person that you are, and we are looking forward to learning of your many accomplishments in your future endeavors.”
Emma Sekscinski, Class President, presented the graduating senior class, reflecting on the past four years they had spent at Milford High School.
“Let’s rewind to freshman year,” Sekscinski said. “All of us sitting in in that freshman auditorium waiting for Mr. Snyder to tell us all about Milford High School and having no idea the experiences we were about to go through. That was the year of firsts, first homecoming, first pep rally. It was all very exciting. As the year went on, we looked back on late night football games and Applebee’s half-price apps. We remember the next year when, as only sophomores, we won the Spirit Stick over the seniors. Junior year was the hardest classwork of all, however, we cannot forget how we won almost every Homecoming Float competition. As junior year went on, March came around. Rumors started flying about COVID-19 and how no one knows what will happen next. Then, March 13. That was the last day we, the Class of 2021, were all in school together in what was a normal setting. Since that day, nothing has been normal. Our senior year was very different than in year’s past but we were able to make it work. We started to be able to attend spring sports and support our classmates. We were able to pull off a prom which we all know was very successful. Despite the differences in our senior year, every single one of us sitting here today have shown our administrators, our teachers, our families and our community our dedication and passion.”
Salutatorian Kayla Clausen joked about earning the title.
“I am the blonde that often confuses her left and her right, but I somehow pulled off becoming salutatorian,” Clausen said. “Upon learning that I received this honor, my first instinct was to turn to Google, our most realizable resource especially now during a pandemic. I found an Urban Dictionary definition that said, and I quote “the less important person to give a speech at graduation and the student who missed so many events that people thought she was a hermit to study just to get second place.” That was not at all helpful. Since this speech is my last homework assignment as a student here at Milford High School, I am going to try my best. Over the years, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer varied drastically. In Kindergarten, I decided quite confidently that I was going to be an art teacher. Then, I decided I was going to go to Harvard to become a hairdresser. In Middle School, I decided I wanted to be an orthodontist until I realized that would entail 12 more years of school and afterward, I could not change my mind. Then, I wanted to go into foreign service, but realized I did not want to live in another country. I then realized that I was spending too much time focusing on what I wanted to be and now who I wanted to be. I have narrowed it down to this. I want to be someone who always believes in herself. Who strives to always use her voice and make herself heard. Someone who is fulfilled by her life and career, but most of all someone who rises above challenges instead of caving in fear of failure.”
Allison Benton, Valedictorian of the Class of 2021, joked that it was nice to finally see the students who kept their cameras off during virtual learning and thanked her family for their support as well as her peers.
“Despite the pandemic mandating that we stay six feet apart, today we stand together more than ever before,” Benton said. “To be honest and frank, I am not giving any advice in my speech. Despite the notion that I am all-knowing and that this speech should be imparting my confidential secrets of success to my peers, I am simply an 18-year-old girl with a. microphone they gave me for earning a high number on an outdated system that theoretically measures brain power. Having the highest GPA does not make me any wiser than the person sitting beside you. So, trying to deliver a speech comprised of the same life lessons that have been drilled into us is impractical. So rather than waste your time and give you a cliché rendition of the advice we have been lectured on, I would like to directly speak to the class and offer a few inspiring words. If there is anything that is certain in life, it is change. The world is constantly shifting below our feet despite our desire for it to stand still. Just as our day-to-day lives have been drastically altered, senior year has been anything but stagnant. I am here to remind you that a ship is safe in the harbor, but that is not what ships are for. Ships are furnished with the necessary tools and attributes to conquer the menaces of the open seas. If a ship remains in the harbor, it is not fulfilling its purpose. I encourage each of you to grab hold of your ship and steer masterfully through any storm that comes your way. You are Buccaneers after all. You are meant to leave the harbor and face the arduous seas.”
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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