It was a difficult school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the seniors at Jurupa Hills High School deserve credit for achieving their goals and graduating in the Class of 2021.
That was the message spoken by Jizelle Ramos, the class president, during the commencement ceremony on June 8 at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino.
"Be proud of who you are and what you have accomplished," Ramos said in her speech at the event.
"I know that our mental health wasn't the best and we missed hanging out with our friends. And at times, our procrastination spiraled out of control, but we ended up turning in that assignment, we showed up, and we made it."
Ramos, who will be attending Loyola University in Chicago in the fall, encouraged the graduates to keep moving forward.
"I'm incredibly proud of who we've become, and I'm hopeful for what lies ahead," she said. "We got this, Class of 2021. Don't you ever give up. If we can get through this, we can get through anything."
A similar theme was expressed by Principal Caroline Labonte, who told the seniors that they "endured a year like no other."
"You have overcome challenges and took on major changes no one could have predicted," she said. "You have learned a very important lesson, one that was not learned from one of your textbooks -- it is called resilience."
She noted that the students went through months of distance learning and only 19 days in the actual classroom.
"I recognize that despite the distracting circumstances and the absolute chaos that this year has brought us, this class has stayed the course and has focused on your goals, your dreams and your responsibilities," she said.
"Class of 2021, you are a uniquely gifted class with a bright future ahead of all of you. I am confident that this class will be able to navigate successfully to create a better world for us all."