‘I literally never thought I’d see it’: In-person graduation ceremonies held for class of 2021

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WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Another full school year has come and gone, and high school seniors are graduating. As COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease, students and their families are celebrating in person, rather than virtually.

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Taylorsville High School seniors attended their graduation in person Thursday morning at USANA Amphitheatre.

As students looked back on the last 16-months of the COVID-19 pandemic, they said they never imagined so much of traditional high school events and activities would change.  

But fortunately, an in-person high school graduation is something they were able to have.

“I literally never thought I’d see it. I thought we’d be doing another virtual graduation like last year,” said Joslynn Jensen.

“Everything was so up in the air this year, that it was just like the first thing we knew we’d finally get,” said Dilan Mena, the SBO vice president.

“So, we made it, I guess – which is cool,” said Tyler Cox, the SBO president.

Like students statewide, COVID-19 restrictions and precautions required THS students to quarantine, take online classes, wear masks at school, and have activities canceled.

While a senior year full of challenge and change, students said they’re now more resilient than ever.  

“With COVID and everything, there has definitely been a lot of let downs, and people have been really disappointed, but I think we’ve become stronger,” Jensen said.

“What defines us is the adversity we showed, and the resilience we showed, and really still overcoming it, and rising to the challenge of having an exciting year,” Cox said.

Seniors said they’re taking the lessons they’ve learned into the future with them.

“We’ve become more prepared for the nos, more prepared for the unknown, and more prepared to stick up for what we believe in,” Jensen said.

“We’re the class that took on COVID, that had a chance to make something of it,” Cox said.

“I hope we move on and use this experience to unify us and to look back and be like, ‘We were able to take that on, so anything else in the future we’re going to be able to do the same,’” Mena said.

About 3,500 students graduated Thursday from eight high schools within Granite School District. All ceremonies were held at outdoor venues, USANA Amphitheatre or Rio Tinto Stadium, for the first time.  

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