Cloaked in white and green caps and gowns, members of the Canyon High School graduating Class of 2021 excitedly took their final steps as high school students Tuesday evening as they marched onto the field at College of the Canyons’ Cougar Stadium.
Canyon High Principal Shellie Holcombe welcomed graduates, their families, teachers, school administrators and school district officials to the commencement ceremony before recognizing Canyon High’s 476 graduates for their perseverance.
“Though the trek has been unprecedented and arduous at times, you have persisted on a steady course to get here. You overcame. you carried on, you were purposeful and resolute,” she said. “In a way, you’re like the stars that, at one time, helped ancient explorers navigate the seas to discover new worlds. Through the darkness you have continued to shine, lighting up the sky to show the way.”
Holcombe commended her students, who will be attending CSU Northridge, CSU Channel Islands, COC, Arizona State University and other colleges in the fall, for adapting, too.
“Perseverance, hope, gratitude, have been our guides, and what we will take away from this experience. It is time to reflect and enjoy the successes as the sun sets on your high school journey and perseverance prevails as you step into the next phase of your lives,” Holcombe said.
Class valedictorian Amber Kashay, one of the 79 Cowboy honor students, noted that graduation marked the first and the last day that the Class of 2021 would be together.
“In the grand scheme of things, our time here may have been infinitesimal, but Canyon High School and the Class of 2021 are our fundamental roots that will forever hold us together,” she said. “Not only did we grow together, we grew because of each other.”
Kashay acknowledged the unique circumstances her peers have faced and will face in the “precarious future ahead.”
“Seize the day,” she told her fellow Cowboys. “Take life by storm and find your own comfort in this chaotic world.”
Class speaker Jaden Jones picked up on a variation of carpe diem.
“A great Jedi master once said, ‘Do or do not, there is no try.’ See, Yoda’s saying you don’t need to try to make something happen. You need to make it happen,” he said. “Trying is like dipping your toes in the water of success, but doing something with all your effort, heart and mind — it’s like jumping in the pool.”
Jones said he would dream of becoming a student at Canyon High School when his older siblings attended school there. He didn’t know it then, but he realized that high school is a place to get ideas, not make life decisions.
“As I stand here today, looking over my peers, I see those who maintain a perfect 4.0. Those who know what college they’re going to, or what career fields they’re going in to after high school,” Jones said, urging his peers to chase their dreams at 100%. “And I want to give you my highest respect because you guys learned that lesson. You did the work, you applied, you kept your grade up and you got it done.”
And for getting it done, the Canyon High Class of 2021 received their diplomas, met with elbow and fist bumps as they stepped off the stage and took their first steps as high school graduates.