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‘It’s a blessing’: High school experience ends for Warden seniors

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | June 16, 2021 1:07 AM

WARDEN — Warden High School class of 2021 student speaker Averie Golladay said she welcomed and regretted graduation.

“You only get one high school experience. And you can never go back,” she said.

But it’s time to move on, she said. Warden seniors officially moved on in graduation ceremonies Friday.

J.C. Martinez said nobody in the class of 2021 expected high school to turn out like it did when they started as freshmen. The class started its senior year in remote learning, and eventually returned to school part-time on a hybrid schedule.

“I would say it’s a crazy experience,” Martinez said.

But the seniors are stronger for having gone through it, he said, and they banded together to help each other. He will always be grateful to his classmates for that experience, he said.

“It’s a blessing,” Martinez said.

“We made it,” said Jose Espinoza, as the class marched out of the WHS football stadium. “It (high school) has come to an end, and it’s on with life now.”

Using the football stadium was a break with tradition, but it allowed in-person graduation. The seniors managed to keep some traditions alive, nevertheless. The end of the ceremony featured a shower of confetti, just like most recent WHS graduations.

“Surreal,” Espinoza said of graduation.

“It feels... good. I’m ready to go on,” said senior Baylee Roden.

Daisy Tellez, the second student speaker, said sometimes high school was tough, but the seniors finished it in the end. She always knew graduation would come, she said, but it was difficult to realize it had really arrived.

In her speech, Golladay paid tribute to school district teachers and staff, family, friends, coaches and the Warden community for their help.

“I can see a network of people that helped me to get here,” Golladay said.

Tellez said people had gone above and beyond for the class, teachers and staff, family and friends, and she thanked them for their support.

Jill Massa, the district’s director of teaching and learning, said the class had shown perseverance in the face of difficult circumstances.

“We can say with confidence they can truly do anything,” Massa said.

More photos from Warden High School's graduation may be found here.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.