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120 Estacada seniors received their diplomas during commencement ceremony Saturday, June 12.

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Estacada High School graduates triumphantly throw their caps in the air at the end of the 2021 commencement ceremony.

It was raining, but that didn't put a damper on the festivities as members of the Estacada High School class of 2021 crossed the stage to receive their diplomas.

The graduation ceremony was held at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 12, at the Estacada Stadium. To facilitate social distancing, each of the 120 graduates were able to bring four guests to the ceremony, which was also live streamed on the district's social media accounts.

In her opening remarks, Estacada High School Principal Amy Hudson described the class of 2021 as strong and resilient.

"They are the survivors of a global pandemic, wildfires, ice storms and tragedy that will have a lasting impact. These students in the class of 2021 have demonstrated tremendous strength and resilience when faced with challenges," she said. "In my short time here, I have witnessed them come together to support one another regardless of differences, cheer each other on from the sidelines and step in to support their community when tragedy strikes."

Valedictorian Brooklyn Bresko also highlighted the strength of her classmates.

"Some sitting in front of me have lost homes in the wildfires and others have lost friends and family, but our community is strong, and I am proud that we have had the strength to persevere through these horrible incidents," she said. "This year has been special to me because it really puts things into perspective, making me able to appreciate the aspects that usually go unnoticed in our everyday lives."

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Estacada High School's class of 2021 graduated on Saturday, June 12.

Valedictorian Alyssa Pierce joked that the year felt completely normal and encouraged her peers to take the future one day at a time.

"Most importantly, I learned to take your time and have fun. Abe Lincoln said it best, the best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time," she said. "Pursue joy, not success, because if you're happy doing something, then nobody can tell you that you're unsuccessful."

Salutatorian Abigail Turner thanked Estacada's teachers.

"I can't say this for everyone else, but I know for a fact I wouldn't be standing up here giving a speech on graduation day as salutatorian without some of my teachers," she said.

Associated Student Body President Bronwynn Porath spoke to the importance of perseverance and reflected on the work she'd done in student government since becoming involved in the program as a middle school student.

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Members of the Estacada High School concert choir sing the National Anthem during the 2021 graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 12.

"Next time you think that something is too hard or you can't do something, or simply because you're afraid of standing out and going against the grain, think about the endless possibilities and amazing things that can come from it," she said. "And after a while, when those opportunities come to you, you will think back to the time you could have given up, you could have thrown in the towel, but you didn't."

After an address from faculty speaker and Road to Success alternative program teacher Mark Montoya, the graduates were introduced by science teacher Kate Dean and English and theater teacher Jordan Collins. They were presented with their diplomas by Hudson and members of the Estacada School Board.

After receiving her diploma, Bryten Figgins told Hudson and attendees of the ceremony that she never wanted to leave high school.

After the commencement ceremony came to a close, graduates and their families gathered at River Mill Elementary School for a fireworks show.

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Members of Estacada High Schools class of 2021 make their way into the stadium for the graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 12.

 PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND  - Recent Estacada High School graduates are all smiles after receiving their diplomas.


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