Class of 2021 Graduation Ceremony

Class of 2021 Graduation Ceremony
Posted on 07/01/2021
Cap toss“My message TODAY is of gratitude and reflection. This class has embodied flexibility, resourcefulness, independence, initiative and resilience all in your own individual ways. The fear experienced by your families, our faculty and staff, the community and quite frankly myself, as your superintendent, regarding how you would succeed and about what you weren’t going to have this year, was replaced by YOUR graciousness, YOUR gratitude YOUR resilience and YOUR initiative and YOUR acceptance.”

These words from East Rochester Superintendent Jim Haugh resonated deeply this year with not only graduates, but their families and loved ones, as the East Rochester Class of 2021 gathered together for graduation on Saturday, June 26, after an uncertain and ever changing school year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After many changes in guidelines from New York State that led to a number of revised plans for graduation, families were able to gather inside the high school auditorium for the commencement Saturday morning.

Breaking away from the narrative of overcoming adversity, High School Principal Casey van Harssel offered words of advice throughout his commencement speech, encouraging graduates to consider the benefits that come from taking a risk. Challenging the universal rule of “don’t talk to strangers,” van Harssel addresses the fact that even those we consider our best friends were, atone time, strangers to us. “Talking to a stranger is not just advantageous to you, but to the person you are engaging in a conversation with...We can learn from interactions with people who may have perspectives that are different from our own.“

Valedictorian Chuck Domm and Salutatorian Zoe Zutes also gave speeches, thanking their peers who became friends during the years spent together in ER and inspiring their classmates to make an impact as they become the people they want to be. “Some say that the pandemic has made relationships suffer, but the class of2021 has never been closer,” said Salutatorian Zoe Zutes, after detailing some of the hurdles the class has overcome together throughout their time in ER. Valedictorian Chuck Domm mirrored this sentiment, saying “All of the knowledge we took in during high school will no doubt be valuable to us as we move forward in life. However, I think that the most important thing we have learned over the last four years is how to support each other.”

Congratulations to the Class of 2021!

Photo Album
Ceremony Recording