After a year of extreme uncertainty and multiple challenges, seniors from North Gwinnett High School celebrated graduation at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth on March 30. The ceremony took place with more than 800 seniors and family members present in a socially distanced atmosphere.
Graduates were required to wear masks on the floor but were permitted to take them off for photos upon walking across the stage. The ceremony was also live-streamed for family and friends who could not make it to the in-person ceremony due to other conflicts or limited ticket availability. Speeches were given by valedictorian Sarah Park, salutatorian Caren Kim and select students from North Gwinnett’s senior class, Luke Deutschman and Brendan Rigsbee.
Honor graduate and Georgia Tech-bound student Garrett Hinton spoke about his favorite parts of the ceremony.
“I enjoyed that it was live-streamed because I got five seconds of fame on the camera as I walked across the stage,” Hinton said. “I also enjoyed our valedictorian speech and I think that Sarah spoke really well.”
Many students highlighted their appreciation for having a graduation ceremony at all, as the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the graduation for the class of 2020 last year. Columbus State University-bound student Natalia Diaz was among the many who were grateful for the opportunity to graduate properly.
“I was happy that we were able to have this ceremony for our friends and family,” she said. “The class of 2020 had to do drive-by graduations or have their diplomas mailed to them, and I know it was not the same, so I’m just thankful we got the chance to have normal graduation.”
Overall, the graduating class of 2021 has been through a lot this year and it was a wonderful experience and opportunity for these graduates to reminisce on the memories they have made in high school. The North Gwinnett Voice wishes the best of luck to these students in their future endeavors.