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By Sterling McGinn

Thirty-eight seniors turned their tassels and received their diplomas at the Newberry High School (NHS) commencement program held at the football field on Friday, May 28.

It is the second year in a row that Newberry hosted an outdoor graduation. The stage was positioned in the center of the field, where the class marched in to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance.

Several hundred family members, friends, and local citizens filled the bleachers and lined the fences on a breezy but sunny evening.

The program began with the Star Spangled Banner performed by the NHS Band. Members of the Hugh Allan McInnes American Legion Post 74 raised and saluted the American Flag.

Following the National Anthem, Tahquamenon Area Schools Superintendent Stacy Price addressed the class with words of encouragement and congratulations.

The NHS Band, under the direction of Sara Perfetti, played one last song with their senior band members. The band performed “You’re Welcome” from Mona, and “From Now On.”

Co-valedictorians and twin-sisters Abigail and Sophia Smithson, served as commencement speakers, and spoke to their fellow seniors. Salutatorian Claire Neeb also presented a heart-felt speech.

“Should we really allow this learning process be where our fulfillment ends?” Abigail Smithson asked her classmates. “The best years of our lives should be when we get to apply everything we have learned to create our success. As we leave here tonight, it is time for us to begin to make all sorts of decisions.”

“What I see when I look at the class in front of me, cannot be described by any medal, cord, or piece of paper,” Sophia Smithson said.

Sophia noted that that when she was told that she would be the valedictorian, she felt the weight of the medals around her neck. “Now when I think of my goals, I feel them not with medals, but with love, compassions, and the capacity to make the world better each day.”

Claire Neeb reflected on the past four years of her high school career. “The first thing that comes to mind when I think about our class is community,” she explained. “No matter our differences, we all share a sense of togetherness, whether it be Friday night football or a ceremony such as today—we are a community and we value each other.”

Following the presentation of diplomas by NHS administration and members of the board of education, the seniors threw their caps to the air, and exited the field to begin their future.

The Newberry News congratulates the Class of 2021.