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OUR VIEW: Soak up these moments graduates

Our staff has spent a lot of time the last several weeks interviewing valedictorians and throughout Troup County’s high schools.

It was interesting to learn the many paths students are going to take when they graduate. Some are sticking close to home in Georgia, others are venturing out a little bit further to study sciences, arts or business.

No matter where they are planning to go or what they plan to do, this year’s graduates deserve special recognition for their hard work and dedication throughout the past year.

These students lost precious moments when COVID-19 invaded their schools and lives. They lost out on outings with friends and family, canceled trips and school events that should have made up much of their junior and senior years of high school.

Throughout it all, these students held on to their ambitions and comforted one another when circumstances seemed bleak.

Many graduates, with their commencement ceremonies days away, are saying goodbye to their school years and entering a brand-new chapter of their lives. 

They’ll be saying goodbye to the teachers they’ve grown to know and trust within the last four years, or in some cases the vast majority of their academic years. They’ll be saying goodbye to friends and familiar faces and locations throughout town, venturing to bigger cities that are larger than anything they’ve seen before.

The next few months will prep them for what is to come: college classes with hectic schedules, late nights at their campus libraries, roommates and jobs between classes.

However, those moments will come later, after commencement night. After each valedictorian and salutatorian give their farewell speeches to their classmates and teachers, after students say goodbye to their teachers and students to their classmates — in some cases, for the final time.

When the rounded piece of paper enters their hands, and they turn the tassels on their caps, signifying that high school is indeed over, another story begins. Congrats to the class of 2021.

You’ve endured a lot, but it’s all been worth it. We wish you all the luck in the world moving forward.