500+ cross podium at MHS graduation

Carter Nelson shows off his diploma at a McNary graduation ceremony on Wednesday, June 9 (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

Just over 500 students walked across the stage over the course of three ceremonies as the McNary High School Class of 2021 received their diplomas at Volcanoes Stadium on Wednesday, June 9.

Elise Ali, Annie-Leigh Besa, Isabella Biondi, Cielo Chavez Hermenegildo, Jasmine Chen, Hannah Condello, Abigail Covalt, Leah Doutt, Camila Garcia Monroy, Gavin Gasperini, Alivia Hall, Ashley Hawley, Isaac Johnson, Layne Ling, Leilani Morris, Elise Myers, Yahir Olmos Lopez, Dyami Rios, Katherine Ronning, Nicole Russell, Luke Skipper, Emma Stephen, Tobias Straw, Trevor Thompson, Madyson Trammell and Samuel Woodward were the 26 students that received valedictorian honors.

Madison Alt, Alexandria Beard, Kennedy Buss, Joseph Hartsook, Reyna Terrazas were each named salutatorians.

“These outstanding students embody an impressive depth of knowledge and skill. They have demonstrated a strong dedication to academic success and have made us tremendously proud,” McNary principal Erik Jespersen said.

Abbi Covalt, the student speaker for McNary’s 57th commencement ceremony, shared that while the Class of 2021 endured one of the most tumultuous and unique years’ in the history of the school, through the process, they were reminded of what is important in life.

“We graduated, ironically situated in a global pandemic. The West Coast caught on fire and an ice storm shut down our city. A president was impeached twice, there were riots in the state and nation’s capital, Olive Garden was closed, and we had to risk our lives to go to Target,” Covalt said. “COVID changed a lot of things for us, but we were reminded to never take moments for granted and to cherish the time you have with your friends, your family, and all the people around you,” Covalt said.

Prior to concluding her speech, Covalt left her peers with a challenge before they ventured off their separate paths.

“Make the most out of every single day. When you’re scared, take one step forward, always ask someone else how they are doing and drink more water. Cheers to the rest of your lives. I hope they are as ambitious as you want them to be. Go Celts,” Covalt said.

The McNary leadership team enlisted McNary business instructor Brad Lomax to give the commencement address — Lomax told the crowd that it was his greatest professional honor.

During his speech, Lomax shared with the graduates his keys to happiness.

“Control the controllable: Effort, focus and attitude. Only you control those things,” Lomax said. “It is a way to put things in perspective and find peace.”

Lomax also left students with some advice and a note of encouragement.

“I am going to ask you to take a risk. Go big. Stretch yourself and put yourself in uncomfortable situations that you may have shied away from in the past. Take control of your life. I know these are only words but let them sink in and become a mindset,” Lomax said. “I am so proud of the young men and women that you have become. In a world of uncertainty and turmoil, each of you holds my hope for a bright and prosperous future.”

Matt Rawlings: [email protected]