First, I would like to thank the class of 2021 for electing me as class president for the past four years. It was a privilege to meet the needs of our student body, and I am honored that all of you have chosen me to be our class representative.
I would also like to thank our class advisors, Ms. Glass and Mr. Price, and the other class leaders: Vice President Taylor Dixon, Secretary Tessa Herman, and Treasurer Isaac Bittinger. Thank you for everything you have contributed to our class and for enduring the stressful times this pandemic has brought. Lastly, and most importantly, I would like to thank Mr. Maddy and Dr. Harman for being so approachable and forgiving when it comes to addressing our students’ concerns. You have helped us a lot in finding ways to give seniors the best senior year possible, given the circumstances.
The past 15 months have not been easy in terms of the typical responsibilities of a class president. I’m sorry I couldn’t do a senior prom or what else you’d expect from a regular prom trip, like no crazy roller coaster in Hershey Park. And I’m sure each of you has heard, at least once this year, how unhappy this year was for the last year and how sad the others are for you.
However, I ask everyone to consider what we were able to achieve from our school experience at COVID-19. Earlier in the year, we had Pajama Day every day for months! We had part-time for most of our school year, which gave us more free time to do our “schoolwork”. While missing out on the full experience of extracurricular activities was not ideal, we were living in a global pandemic, so considering what we were facing, I think our school did a great job of giving us what opportunities they could while ensuring our security.
We had sporting events, FFA, JROTC and band and we were able to continue participating in the clubs that our school offers. We had our senior prom, which for a while seemed an unlikely feat, but the junior class did a great job of hosting it, and the barn looked as amazing as everyone else who attended. Our class trip was a lot of fun thanks to everything Tack Spiker had to offer, which included the Monkey Business rope course, go-karts, mini golf, arcade games and delicious food. Lastly, thanks to the generosity of our community members and the selfless work of Mary Ann Umbel and her parents, we received a variety of wonderful awards at our class picnic.
So no, our junior and senior years weren’t what we expected, but I would say we’ve adapted very well to the situation and were still able to make the most of our time here. At least we can say that we had a completely unique experience, unlike any other class at Northern High School.
Also, I would like everyone not to consider just their high school experience as a missed opportunity because of COVID-19. As you reflect on all our time here, think about how far we’ve come. Each year, we grow and evolve into the people we are today. We arrived at high school with high school egos and powerful eighth graders only to be demoted to freshman status. However, as freshmen, we still manage to engage with a totally different group of people. It was no longer limited to our class of around 110 students, but we had to attend classes with three other grades. We had to take courses that involved a variety of topics that helped us learn what we like and don’t like. Some of us found callings to professional careers, while others realized what we definitely didn’t want to pursue outside of high school. Friendships evolved, lifestyles changed and we grew.
For a while, I counted the days until graduation. Virtual learning gave me a taste of independence and I didn’t want to go back to the monotonous days of school. It was practically as if I had already moved on to adulthood, without the real difficulties of adulthood, but I was loving the freedom.
However, going back to school, being here now, looking at all of you, I realized the impact you all had on me. From the briefest interactions to lasting friendships, I’ve been enjoying my time here with each and every one of you. I truly believe we had one of the best classes to date. The vast majority of us have known each other since sixth grade, and some for even longer. It’s been seven years of living together, and you can’t break a bond like that.
So, thank you to everyone for contributing to making high school one of the best moments of our lives. I’m really excited to see where we all go from here. I have no doubt that our class members will do spectacular things. Good luck everyone and thanks again.