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Caps, gowns and smiles — kudos to area graduates

Caps, gowns and smiles — what a week it’s been!

Congratulations to all of the graduates across Lycoming County as they accept their high school diplomas and take that next big step into adulthood.

As with St. John Neumann Regional Academy, where the commencement ceremony was centered around the acronym PRIDE, all members of the Class of 2021, regardless of school, should be proud of their accomplishments.

Their achievements came through Perseverance, Respect, Independence, Determination and Excellence.

“Your Neumann PRIDE was shining bright as you navigated through the restrictions and adaptations that came with your senior year,” Neumann principal Alisia McNamee told her graduating class.

What a wonderful way to sum up the unique challenges of completing a high school education during a pandemic.

Likewise, this unusual senior year could be viewed as an exercise in the human spirit’s ability to adapt and overcome, something this year’s graduates excelled in doing.

It had to have been tough for those who for years looked forward to a variety of activities that were significantly altered and even canceled since March 2020, but life went on.

Classes and education continued, even if remotely, even if socially distanced and with masks when in person.

The students faced extreme, unforeseen difficulties during their final months of secondary education, unlike the final years of high school that most people have known.

“In a time when we often had to be apart from each other, it seems everyone has actually grown even closer than before,” observed Hughesville High School valedictorian Victoria Holmes.

“After facing the difficult trials and tribulations of these past two years, I feel confident that each and every one of us has such great potential to do amazing things and make a difference in the world.”

We agree.

Each year, hundreds of students graduate from high schools in our region. This year, as with last year, students took that next step in unprecedented circumstances.

The pomp and circumstance is not over yet. Commencement ceremonies continue tonight at Williamsport and Montoursville high schools, Friday at Loyalsock and Saturday at Jersey Shore.

From there, it’s onto the future.

Good luck, graduates, we look forward to seeing what you’ll do next!

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