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'Remain thankful for the present moment': Geneseo High School graduates Class of 2021
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'Remain thankful for the present moment': Geneseo High School graduates Class of 2021

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GENESEO — Graduates in the Geneseo Class of 2021 didn’t have just a commencement exercise. Their big day Sunday began with a parade from the south end of town, passing the three elementary schools, the middle school and St. Malachy’s, before concluding at the high school where the graduates gathered for the processional to the football field for the commencement ceremony.

There were 226 graduates in the Class of 2021. Ninety-four received summa cum laude honors for having cumulative grade-point averages of 3.74 or above.

Twenty-nine students received magna cum laude honors for having a cumulative GPA of 3.50-3.74, and 25 students received cum laude honors for 3.25-3.49 GPAs.

Seniors Ava Perrigo and Evelyn Wilson gave speeches. All graduates could submit speeches to read at graduation, and a committee selected two.

Perrigo traced the four years at GHS and said, “Throughout the entirety of my freshman year I got told ‘it goes by so fast, enjoy every bit of it’ ... as cliché as it sounds, life is a big journey full of twists and turns, and everyone is just trying to get to their end destination.”

“We have also been given the opportunity to learn difficult lessons early," she said. "We are able to understand the advice, ‘it goes by so fast, enjoy every bit of it’ like no other.”

She encouraged her classmates to “cherish the sound of your best friend’s laugh, call your grandma for just 5 minutes, give your hugs a little tighter, acknowledge when you’re making a memory, enjoy every bit of it.”

“What I would do to go back to the winter of sophomore year when we were all snowed in and thought two weeks off of school was a long time,” Perrigo said. “1,370 days ago we walked into Geneseo High School, but we are not the same people walking out.”

Wilson said: “I think we knew by the time August rolled around last year that we wouldn’t be experiencing the ‘High School Musical” version of our senior year that we all dreamed of. The fall went by with few social engagements, and we weren’t even seeing half of the student body. The days felt programmed and robotic, like everyone was scared to truly express themselves, or maybe it’s just that we had forgotten how to act after being quarantined from one another for so long.”

As the year progressed and restrictions were lifted, “I finally started to see everyone embrace their true colors and reveal the version of themselves that had been hidden behind the mask, literally," Wilson said. "Navigating this deceptive winding, unknown year, we were finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

“We’ve definitely missed out on a lot of experiences that everyone looks forward to their senior year, but the truth is, our class battled this pandemic with our hearts set on engaging on a bigger, more fulfilling goal: enjoy the things life does give us and focus on all of the opportunities we do have. In retrospect, we not only learned, but we truly lived these truths by not taking what we have for granted and remaining thankful for the present moment.”

“Not only did we take the year for what it was and make the absolute best of it, but we also learned the true value of one another and how precious life is," Wilson said.

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WHAT WE KNOW: The Orion School District has been working on a building project that would add an early-learning center and STEM classrooms at the grade school, new HVAC units at the middle school and new entries at both the grade school and high school, among other projects.

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