With skies darkening and thunder rumbling, just over 400 seniors took their last walk as students June 8 as they entered Legends Stadium to become the 52nd graduating class of Cape Henlopen High School.
Principal Nikki Miller told students they have overcome many obstacles over the past year.
“Beyond staying focused on your academics during a pandemic, this graduating class of 2021 has been full of accomplishments ... state titles, millions of dollars in scholarships and grants, all-state and conference winners and accolades,” Miller said. “Those achievements make all of us look at you today, astounded at how you were able to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time.”
Miller told students they have grown from quirky ninth-graders to young adults who have proven they are capable of greatness even in the midst of adversity.
“Your strength and desire to not give up on yourself or your education pushed us as a community,” Miller said. “When many of us adults were unsure how to move forward, you were our role models, giving us a reason to never give up. Congratulations, Class of 2021, you will forever be supported and remembered as the class who never gave up!”
Superintendent Bob Fulton told students their accomplishments in the arts, athletics and community service are due to their traits as leaders, not followers.
“You care about others, not always about yourselves, and you understand that you can accomplish so much more in life as a team, a group, or together, than you can alone,” Fulton said.
Fulton advised students that life is not fair, and they should not blame others for life’s misfortunes.
“Understand that nobody is defined by how they react to successes in their lives, but they are defined by how they react to challenges,” he said. “Know that every moment counts. Enjoy your time with friends and family whenever you can.”
Class President Jhayden Holloman thanked Cape High staff for being mentors and ensuring the class had the best possible senior year.
“As a class, we’ve shared many great times – homecoming, dances, spirit week, football games and state championships – even though our time together was cut short by a pandemic,” Holloman said. “High school is only one chapter in our lives, and we still have so much ahead of us. Whenever you feel defeated, remember you are not alone, and you have your Cape family here to support you.”
Valedictorian Emily Monigle said without question, the academic year was unique and everyone was encouraged to gain perspective.
“I am gravely aware this is not how we envisioned our last year of high school to be,” Monigle said. “Although it is sad to think about the number of lasts that we have missed out on, I will not address those tonight because throughout this year, we have persevered.”
Monigle told classmates that change encourages growth, and the relationships they make with others are most important.
“As you enter the real world, remember that,” she said. “As you face hardships, it will be those around you that will help you overcome them. Although we don’t know what is to come, I believe we are ready to accomplish our hopes, dreams and aspirations.”
Among the institutions of higher learning Cape graduates will attend are Pace University, Princeton University, Tulane University and Virginia Tech.
See more coverage in Cape Gazette’s commemorative graduation booklet in the Friday, June 18 edition.