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Quincy’s graduating class celebrates 160 versions of success

by SAM FLETCHER
Staff Writer | June 16, 2021 1:05 AM

QUINCY — “Pause and take a little time to be in this important moment,” Quincy High School Principal Felicie Becker said Saturday to the assembled Jacks — QHS’ mascot, short for jackrabbits — their families and friends, at commencement ceremonies.

It was the first big gathering they’d had in over a year, after all.

“Look around at all the beauty that surrounds us. Look across the field and notice how many people have come together to celebrate,” she said.

Every high school felt the strangeness of this past year, but Quincy maybe even more so. Its brand-new building was open less than a year when it was shut down because of the pandemic.

“The class of 2021 is resilient, gracious, stoic and resolute,” Becker said. “These seniors have made their mark and helped start to make this house into a home.”

Class President Eduardo Diaz-Ceballos dreamed of giving his graduation speech since seventh grade, he said.

And he did so twice: first in Spanish, second in English.

“(Don’t) let others tell you how successful you are,” he said. “Success is not what others believe, but what you yourself believe. Success makes you proud, what continues to inspire you, what motivates you, what empowers you to do great things.”

Looking across Quincy High School’s graduating class of 160 is looking across almost as many diverse paths, he said. Some are going to universities near home, some are going abroad. Some are going to community college, some apprenticeships, some trade schools. Some are going into community service, some right into their careers. Others will serve in the U.S. Army or the U.S. Marine Corps.

And some simply don’t know yet.

According to Diaz-Ceballos, more important than any job title is to be a dreamer, an innovator, a visionary, a thinker and an inventor. That’s what the world needs now, he said.

Salutatorian Drew Rigby defines success simply.

“My hope for the class is that when we come back for the 20-year reunion, we are all happy,” he said.

Working through the pandemic’s obstacles was an immense physical and emotional challenge, said salutatorian Norma Rodriguez. Perhaps worst of all, it took senior year away.

“We lost most of our senior tradition, but that didn’t stop us from pushing through and finishing strong,” she said.

There is much to look forward to, Becker said.

“Your futures are limitless,” she said. “You have many adventures ahead. Some known and many more unknown. Just remember that we all love you. You will always be Jacks, and you will always have a home here with us.”

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