WASILLA — Mat-Su Middle College School’s class of 2021 celebrated the final graduation of the district May 21 at the Menard Sports Center.

“Some of you are sitting here with straight A’s and some of you are here by the skin of your teeth. That difference is trivial compared to the fact the each of you is here right here, right now having persevered at the most academically rigorous school in the state of Alaska,” Faculty speaker John Robertson said.

Class speaker Conner Trouy said their high school experience is unique and demands more.

“We have a harder work ethic than other high schoolers, and with the college credit we’ve gotten in the last couple of years, we’re more ahead than other high schoolers,”

Trouy said that in the end, the dual enrollment program with its dual challenges was worth it, and seeing everyone at the ceremony means they have it takes to take on whatever comes next.

“We are both high school and college students. We have gone through the stress of high school and college at the same time and we’ve come out the other side graduating,” Trouy said. “We sat through lectures that are over an hour long, only to take a yellow school bus home because we don’t have our driver’s license yet. We did group projects with the 50-something veteran who decided to go back to school and then head over to our high school track meet afterward. We became friends with the mother who is on her way to getting her nursing degree, then we went home to our own mother who scolded us for not making our beds before we left for school.”

Trouy thanked all the family members and faculty members who helped them along the way.

“You’ve all helped us on this long journey. Your support helped us to get here today,” Trouy said.

Trouy said that making it through this journey in spite of the pandemic makes their accomplishment even more meaningful.

“COVID-19 has hit the class of 2021 the hardest. What started as an extra week of spring break turned into half of our junior and all of our senior year stolen from us. We’ve had to deal with professors who still use flip phones now trying to run a class completely online, doesn’t work well,” Trouy said with a laugh. “We’ve had classes where the only interaction is submitting two posts a discussion board a week. We’ve had to deal with using RPNow and pray our wifi doesn’t cut out mid-exam. And yet, here were are a year and a half later graduating during a worldwide pandemic... This is your accomplishment, no one else’s. While others may have helped you along the way, it was ultimately you… and all that hard work is about to pay off.”

To view the Mat-Su Middle College School 2021 graduation, visit vimeo.com/545276183.

To view other ceremonies online, visit the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District website at matsuk12.us/Page/47462.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com

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