May 29—Norman High seniors closed out a year marked by hardship — from navigating remote learning to standing strong in the face of blatant racism — by crossing the stage into a new era on Saturday.
The high school's seniors have much to be proud of, speakers said.
"In spite of the fact that we were absent for a significant amount of our senior year, every last one of us exhibited unmistakable courage," said Eliana Simon, a Norman High senior. "Whether you're a female basketball player who knelt unflinching for racial justice in the face of blatant bigotry and vile hatred, or you endured Mr. Powell's wrath and AP chemistry, or you unmuted yourself on Zoom just for a second to share an idea, each of you have demonstrated fortitude and virtue, and what more trying year to have done so?"
Norman High faculty and staff, along with members of the Norman Public Schools Board of Education, applauded the graduates for their triumph during this tumultuous school year.
"You are our future, and I'm proud of not just what you have accomplished, but more so how and why you have accomplished it," NPS Board member Dirk O'Hara said. "Our mission at Norman Public Schools is to prepare and inspire you to reach your full potential. Now it's your turn to prepare and inspire yourself while making a positive impact in the world."
Regardless of where life after Norman High takes the seniors who graduated on Saturday, one thing will always bind them together, they are the Norman High Class of 2021.
"This class has helped shape our city and our state, but there's more that we can do," senior Elliot Kmetz said. "If we want to build a more just sustainable and peaceful world, we must take what is special about Norman High out into the world with us. Bring it home Tigers. Thank you, and fight on."
Reese Gorman covers COVID-19, local politics and elections for The Transcript; reach him at email@example.com or @reeseg_3.