Class of 2021 takes in their final moments as a trojan

2021 Midlothian High School Graduation Ceremonies

Photo by: Lauren Cassano
2021 Midlothian High School Graduation

At the start of the 2020-2021 school year, the senior class found themselves faced with a difficult reality in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the learning environment shifted to online platforms, landmark events quickly fell by the wayside. However, on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, the Midlothian High School Class of 2021 defied all odds and attended one of three in-person graduation ceremonies held at Midlo’s own F.W. Poates Stadium. Donning their caps and glistening blue and gold gowns, students took one final moment to reflect on the past and welcome the bright futures ahead of them.

Prior to each ceremony, seniors lined up at the entrance to the field, waiting for Pomp and Circumstance to fill the air. At the first notes, Junior Marshals and teachers directed the pending graduates onto the decorated field. Filing in two by two, the seniors made their way to their seats. For many, this marked the first time they had seen their classmates since March of 2020, prompting a flood of emotions as they looked up and saw the number “2021” displayed on the scoreboard  the distance. 

Standing poised on stage, one of three senior class officers, Willian Galleher, Blake Longest or Drew Blankenship, greeted the Class of 2021 and led all attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. Next, senior Rhys Schwan performed a stunning rendition of the Star Spangled Banner on the electric guitar. The class officer then welcomed everyone and proceeded to address the class as a whole. Each officer pointed out that despite the speed bumps along the way and the fact that plans can change in the blink of an eye, every individual before them possessed a great deal of courage and determination for having come so far. They all noted the strength and perseverance demonstrated by each of their classmates in light of the challenges presented by the unforeseen turn that their last year of high school took. After a year unlike any other in history, there ceases to exist an obstacle that the Class of 2021 will struggle to conquer.  

Following the motivational words shared by the Class of 2021’s very own, distinguished dignitaries took to the podium, each expressing their admiration for the students sitting in front of them. Chief Academic Officer for CCPS Dr. Sharon Pope spoke first before yielding the podium to Kathryn Haines, the Midlothian District Representative for the School Board, and Midlothian District Representative on the Board of Supervisors Leslie Haley, all of whom delivered similarly powerful remarks encouraging students to explore their surroundings and grow from their mistakes in order to effectively promote change. At this time during the second ceremony, Kylie Dixon and Liera Woodhouse were awarded the Superintendent’s Award that included a medal for service and a $1,000 scholarship.

One of the most moving moments of the ceremony was when senior members of the school’s award-winning chorus program, Lara Brinkman and Nikki Rizzo, sang “For Good” from Wicked, causing many in the audience to tear up as the song reminded students of the relationships fostered during their time at Midlo. Capitalizing on the memories shared by the Class of 2021, student speakers provided insight on their most memorable moments with classmates from their time at Midlo and the lessons learned when faced with the multitude of hardships brought forth by the pandemic. At the first ceremony, third in the class Kathryn Krinskie drew attention to the idea that though tough choices lay ahead when navigating future pathways, there exists beauty in the unknown. She instilled within the class the idea of being proud of their accomplishments and embracing the journey as the year has prepared them to succeed in any given situation. Valedictorian Madison Fath spoke at the second ceremony, bringing forth the notion of the importance of social interaction. With this in mind, she encouraged her classmates to not take any in-person exchange for granted moving forward. Finally, the salutatorian Hunter Stanek rounded out the day at the final ceremony, evoking laughter from all as he recalled both the positive and negative qualities of online learning. Despite the distance though, students had one another to seek comfort in, thus asking his classmates to stand up and look around at each other one last time before leaving Midlo.

Finally, the long-awaited moment came. Mimicking the school year, the unpredictable weather, which ranged from blistering heat to rain, did not stop the Class of 2021 from receiving their diplomas. First, Principal Dr. Shawn Abel left the departing class with a meaningful message that spoke volumes to their character and actions demonstrated since day one when they first entered the school as freshman. Assistant Principal Dr. Denise Bowes soon announced the names of the graduates, inviting them to cross the stage to accept their coveted diplomas that solidified years of hard work and dedication. After the final student crossed the stage, Dr. Abel declared the members of the Class of 2021 official graduates of Midlothian High School, satisfying their new titles as Midlo alumni. Upon the announcement, students celebrated the achievement by throwing their caps high into the air and embracing one another. Keeping with tradition, enthusiastic Midlo teachers and staff formed two lines for the graduates to walk through as they exited the stadium with diplomas in hand as an uproar of cheers echoed for all to hear. 

Family and friends made their way to the student parking lot to greet the new graduates as they came off the field. Groups gathered to take pictures, capturing the memorable day for years to come.  The Class of 2021 will forever remember their senior year, one like no other, and Midlo will never forget them. 

Congratulations, Class of 2021!

To view each of the three graduation ceremonies, visit Midlo’s TrojanLive Youtube channel.


Class of 2021 Top Ten

Madison Fath, Valedictorian

Hunter Stanek, Salutatorian

Kathryn Kinskie

Lena Caffall

Shelby Harris

Lauren Deaver

Joshua Seiden

Katherine Krievs

Christina Mulroy

Charlie van den Oord