Kaeleigh Reem spent only a few months at Burchell High. But the school made a big impact during that short time. Now, Reem is one of nearly 70 members of Burchell’s class of 2020.
Reem was also a student speaker during Burchell’s virtual graduation ceremony, which was pre-produced by Mat- School Borough School District staff and broadcasted Friday afternoon, the scheduled day for the school’s graduation.
“I would like to start by saying I did not begin attending Burchell High School until October of 2019,” Reem said. “However, this school has impacted me in so many different ways. I’ve decided I want to go to college to pursue teaching, something I never thought I would do.”
Reem credited the people who she met at Burchell.
“I met so many amazing people at Burchell that I can say I am proud to graduate with the class of 2020. Burchell High School is where I pushed my limits and found that I am capable of doing so much more than I give myself credit for. And I have the community at Burchell to thank for that,” Reem said.
Reem said her teachers at Burchell inspired and motivated her. She also had the same message for her classmates.
“Under the circumstances, this ceremony may not feel as special as walking across that stage and being handed your diploma; however, that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to be just as successful. We’ve all come so far to complete high school, we can’t give up or let these circumstances hold us back from pursuing the things we want to do,” Reem said. “Make the most of it! Don’t stop here! Keep pushing everyday to be the best that you can be and don’t let anything stand in your way. It’s a difficult road ahead, but we can make it if we all work together to make the future a beautiful world we want to live in.”
Burchell principal Shelli Lincoln addressed the, “elephant in the room.”
“This is not the graduation you had pictured. COVID-19 has taken several rites of passage from this graduating class. Dreams and traditions have shifted. Traditions have shifted and as a community, we empathize with you in the loss of those traditions,” Lincoln said in her speech.
Lincoln said her students have missed out on the traditional graduation experience, but also put it into a historical perspective.
“Years from now, you will tell your children and grandchildren about 2020,” Lincoln said. ‘The year you graduated high school in the midst of a world-wide pandemic, how you didn’t get to go to prom or have a graduation ceremony, couldn’t see your friends and were stuck at home, and how they should be thankful for the opportunities they have. This might sound a lot like some conversations you have had with your parents or grandparents. It might sound familiar, because generations past have experienced their own level of hardships, and yet took something away from it. Prior generations have experienced things like war and a great depression . These historical events, like the one we are living now, give us an opportunity to appreciate the things we value and hold dear. We now see that there were things that we allowed to get us off track and moments we took for granted.”
Contact Frontiersman editor Jeremiah Bartz at firstname.lastname@example.org.