Save for the babbles of a few babies, the crowd that filled Knott Arena at Mount St. Mary’s University Friday morning fell silent when Francesca Hubbard approached the microphone to sing the national anthem.
Hands at her sides, her back straight as a rod, Hubbard sang the first three stanzas with perfect poise. She didn’t even flinch when a wall of voices joined her for a brief moment at the start of the third to final line.
“O!” the Oakdale High School Class of 2022 shouted together — one last time before they graduated — as Hubbard sang, “O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave.”
Three hundred and seventeen Oakdale Bears graduated on Friday.