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Grangers celebrate senior year, achievements and graduation Saturday

Words like hope, time and perseverance echoed Callaway Stadium as more than 200 Grangers took the stage Saturday morning for their in-person graduation.

LaGrange High School STAR student Laegan Smith commented that they all were finally able to have the gradation they’ve been waiting their entire lives for.

“We are graduating, and let’s let that reality truly sink in,” Smith said. “Celebrate and take pride in your accomplishments today. Tomorrow, let’s focus on following our dreams and trusting ourselves every step of the way. It won’t always be easy but getting to today wasn’t easy either.”

Despite facing a senior year that no one other generation has had to face before, Smith encouraged her classmates to not be fearful of the future.  

“Each one of us today has a road full of promise,” Smith said. “Our generation and especially our class has had strength of perseverance like never before.”

Salutatorian Young Ha Cho thanked all the parents, faculty and staff for guiding them through school and life the past 18 years.

“Thank you for the love and support you gave your students,” Cho said. “Your unconditional love has been provided us with reassurance multiple times. You guys have been our mentors and number one supporters since day one.”

Cho said that even though the Grangers may not have had the senior year they hoped for, the class accomplished a lot.

“Whether we like it or not, we’ll have to move on and accept never having our senior year complete,” Cho said. “Although we may feel these regrets now, we will have to look on forward to our future. I have no doubt that every student in this class has the capabilities to do what they set their mind to.”

Valedictorian Libby Creswell told the crowd of graduates and families she never expected to not return to school after March 12.

“We didn’t know what to say goodbye to our friends, to take lots of pictures together in the senior parking lot or to walk slowly out of the building and take everything in a final time,” Criswell said. “But today after months of wondering whether or not we would be able to have an in-person graduation, here we are together for one of the biggest celebrations of our entire lives. Today, though we are six feet apart, we can have songs in our hearts because we get to have this moment together.”

Although the 2020 class did not know if they would get an in-person graduation, and not all their friends and families could be in attendance due to COVID-19, the Grangers smiled and cheered as they were handed their diplomas.

“I think we can all agree that for the most part, this moment has turned out the way we all hoped it would,” Criswell said. “Furthermore, I challenge us to remember this feeling of gratitude we have inside us right now. There are many things in life that we now realize we have taken for granted. So, let us do better about being thankful and recognizing the people and the moments that bring us joy.”