Bradwell Institute's graduating class of 2021 received a typical farewell this past weekend as they held an in-person graduation ceremony. Unlike their counterparts from last year’s graduating class, who got their diplomas via a drive-thru ceremony, this year’s class returned to normal with all the pomp and circumstance.
At Hokey Jackson Stadium at Olvey Field families were seated in the bleachers, waving, cheering and yelling out support for the graduating class of 2021.
The ceremony was dedicated to Ayesha Davis who was killed in an accident in December of 2020. The Tiger Salutatorian and Valedictorian were twin brothers David and Diego Resto.
David Resto said being able to speak to his class was a dream come true.
“One of the many dreams I’ve had over the last few years was to be able to walk onto this stage and give a speech that would make everyone really feel the nostalgia of their high school experience,” he said. “Then I remembered I am not amazing at writing and likely not be able to do that so I will try and keep it neat for you guys.
He spoke about the memories made at school.
“Freshman year was a year of new experiences…it was a year that forced us to meet new people…it was the year that many of us began to look for our true selves,” he said. “Sophomore year was a year of comfort. A year where we indulged in taking more difficult classes. Our junior and senior years were some of the most challenging years we faced together. From being able to see your friends daily to quarantining for months on end and taking exams online, it took a lot of will power to actual get the work done and not tell yourself you will do the work tomorrow…even then we pushed through and we are all here today which is all that matters.”
His brother Diego thanked his family, fellow classmates, and school staff.
“We faced a year like never before,” he said. “We endured a pandemic that took the lives of many and kept us at home. We had to adapt to virtual learning while balancing sports, clubs and work. In the face of constant adversity, you succeeded and chose to cross the finish line. Today we celebrate those accomplishments. But I must remind you that this is not the end. As I look at all of you, I see the next generation of leaders, innovators and overachievers…we will thrive.”
Outgoing senior Autumn Thomas said she was glad they had the opportunity to walk down the field and across the stage in a typical ceremony.
“The ceremony and that feeling of walking across the stage…it is different. It’s a spirit that you don’t want to miss out on,” she said. “it’s a feeling of accomplishment, like this is really happening. Thomas plans to major in Psychology and minor in Nursing at Kennesaw State University. She said having to wear a mask was a small sacrifice in order to be able to still be in front of family and walk across the stage.
Anthony Walters said high school was a rough four years so to be able to stand in front of family and receive his diploma was a huge accomplishment.
“It means a lot to me,” he said. “I am kind of sad the class of 2020 didn’t get to do it but class of 21 did.”