WASILLA — Redington Jr/Sr High School graduates celebrated their successes during the 2021 graduation ceremony Tuesday evening at the Menard Sports Center after a particularly challenging journey affected by wildfires, earthquakes, and a global pandemic.

“As I look back at our high school careers, I think to something the great Walt Disney once said, ‘All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you,’ and boy have we had our share. Between the earthquake shaking up our sophomore year and COVID-19 coming through our junior year and continuing to shape our senior year, but we have fought through it and now we are going out into the world. If we can beat everything that high school has thrown at us and then some, I know we’ll be fine in the years to come,” salutatorian Megan Nichols said.

Student speaker and master of ceremonies Dallas Smith said that adjusting to the pandemic wasn’t easy, but they managed to finish their last year of high school in spite of COVID-19 and all the other adversaries life threw at them over the last four years.

“We made it through the weirdest years ever… It amazed me when I saw that all my peers had all the courage and gut to deal with all these new and hard things in life and still prevail and push forward,” Smith said. “I’m glad to say that we have proven not only to ourselves but to everybody here that Redington students will not back down from anything.

Smith wrapped up his graduation speech by highlighting all the hard work students put in, and the countless hours their parents, teachers, and staff members put in to help make it all possible.

“Huskies, we did this but we did not do this alone,” Smith said. “This day is every single person here… We have prevailed through the ups and the downs… I would like to congratulate my classmates and their families, this day is yours.”

Redington Principal Tom Lytle said that he reflected on the very unusual last five quarters this graduating class went through. He said that hope sprouts from difficult circumstances.

“This sort of hope has to be more than a dream. It has to be your future. Each of you have overcome unique challenges to arrive here… I applaud your strength, your determination, your ability to persevere when you felt you could not,” Lytle said.

To view the Redington Jr/Sr High School 2021 graduation ceremony, visit the following link: vimeo.com/event/962197/videos/552252510. 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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