The Class of 2021 will undoubtedly be remembered for graduating at the end of a global pandemic, but that’s not how the graduates want it to be.

Instead, many graduating seniors of Frederick County Public Schools want to be remembered for how they overcame the unprecedented challenges thrown at them.

“I could stand up here giving a hardship tale of everything we have missed ... but the Class of 2021 is the most resilient class yet,” said Morgan Miller, Linganore High School senior class president, during the school’s graduation ceremony Wednesday morning.

“We will be remembered for the grit and determination to keep going,” she said to her fellow classmates. “We will be able to cope with so much more than previous students.”

Despite wanting to look at the past year and a half in a positive light, though, Linganore High seniors admitted that having their 15 months of high school ripped from them was rough.

“We didn’t get that senior feeling, and I got way worse grades being virtual. It sucked,” said graduate Devin Lynch.

Graduate Brian Helton called the time a “genuine test of conviction.”

“For some people, it was harder, for others it was easier. For me it was harder because I had no incentive to do anything not being face-to-face,” he said.

But even under gloomy Wednesday morning skies and thoughts of virtual and hybrid learning still lingering in their minds, the Linganore High graduates were excited to finally cross the stage into adulthood, and they were grateful that the graduation ceremony was on their home field.

“I’m really grateful for it; it feels like we’re saying goodbye. If we didn’t have an in-person graduation, there wouldn’t have been closure,” said graduate Jordyn Vetter.

Lynch said he preferred having the graduation at the school’s stadium to the normal practice of holding all the FCPS high school graduations at Mount St. Mary’s University. Before the ceremony, he was excited.

“I feel good, it’s been a long four years, and now we’re finally graduating, and it feels crazy. It feels like freshman year was yesterday, and now we’ve got a long road of life ahead of us,” he said.

Lynch plans to move to North Carolina and attend a local community college. He is also working with a friend to launch a 3D printing business. Helton and Vetter both plan to attend Maryland community colleges.

As the graduates sat on the turf in white folding chairs, Frederick County Board of Education member Jason Johnson spoke and provided contemplative words.

He asked them to consider three questions as they move on from Linganore High: What do you hate? What do you love? What would you do for free?

“By answering these questions, I hope that your passion will come into focus,” he said. “Your responses to these questions is what will change the future and provide hope to millions of souls.”

Follow Katryna Perera on Twitter: @katrynajill

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