Remembering your steps

Published 8:59 pm Friday, June 3, 2022

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It was a night of celebration for a class that has gone through more than most to get to this point.

On Saturday night, commencement was held for the Class of 2022 at Austin High School, which graduated over 250 students.

As with most graduations, Saturday night’s ceremony was a moment of reflection and pride.

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“Today is the time to celebrate all of our work,” said graduate Lucy Masara, one of 17 students of high distinction. “I could not be more proud to represent our class.”

Masara then introduced a video featuring the rest of the students of high distinction as they looked back over their time going through the Austin Public Schools system.

However, as Superintendent Dr. Joey Page pointed out, this class along with other classes of 2022 throughout the state, had a little bit more on their plate than a lot of classes.

“This class is different from any that have come before,” said Page, who himself is an Austin graduate of 1990. “You have resilience and strength that is unusual.”

These students were sophomores when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the state in March of 2020, losing the rest of that year. As juniors they fought through the school year that transitioned from at-home learning to hybrid and all of the hurdles that came with it.

The 2021-22 school year was the first stretch of normal since March of 2020 for this year’s graduating class.”

You all have experienced something incredibly strange, but here we are,” Page said.

Page urged students to hold onto their time at AHS and remember it fondly for the experiences they’ve built over the years, even after they have left to do things away from Austin.

He also encouraged them to think big.

“We know Austin graduates go and do great things,” Page said.

As the night progressed toward the moment of diplomas, Page left this class of 2022 with one final piece of advice.

“You’re leaving this place to discover new places,” he said. “Should you ever return I hope it is with new eyes.”