Jun. 9—POTTSVILLE — Members of Nativity BVM High School's Class of 2021 gathered on Lawton's Hill for the final times as a group Tuesday evening to participate in the school's 65th baccalaureate Mass and commencement exercises.
Samuel Sterns, salutatorian, welcomed all in attendance and told his 41 classmates that each and every one of them was special in their own way.
"I challenge you all to never forget that in each one of you is something unique that sets you apart from the rest, something that can't be taken and something to believe in," he said. "Never try and be someone else because everyone in this gym is an incredible person who I will never forget.
"Thank you for incredible memories, good luck in your future and always fight for what you're worth."
The baccalaureate Mass was celebrated under the direction of the Rev. David Loeper, school chaplain, followed by the presentation of the class by Lynn Sabol, principal.
Each of the 42 students was then presented with diplomas, awards and scholarships by Sabol, Loeper and Jennifer Daubert, director of development.
Valedictorian Connor Denion thanked everyone for making the 2020-21 school year as normal as possible, given the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Yes, we missed out on a few things we usually do," he said. "But we could've missed out on everything if it wasn't for our faculty's diligence in dealing with our safety while also staying calm and not panicking at the first sight of danger.
"You have imposed strong wills unto us this year and we were able to mirror your resolve while dealing with our own problems."
Members of the class, he said, were unsure if they would experience the same fate as their predecessors in the Class of 2020.
"We were just afraid we would not be able to finally have those experiences or have to so over a lackluster Zoom call," Denion said. "However, I am proud to stand here today and say that we have weathered the storm, and thanks to our hardworking faculty and staff we were able to stay open and in-person the whole school year."
He said that being able to have in-person learning gave members of the Class of 2021 a strong sense of accomplishment: "We have been challenged and every graduate here will be better off in their next step in life, whatever that may be. ... I feel we are more prepared for what is to come."
The ceremony concluded with the Class of 2021 presentation by Alexander Mathers, class president, and Camilla Koury, class vice president; a benediction by Loeper; and the singing of the alma mater.