Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Polly Hansen
Special to the Observer 

As Covid Restrictions Ease, Santa Monica High School Conducts 2021 Graduation

Commencement speakers all gave thanks, noting the simple joy in just being at a graduation.

 

Jen Maxcy

Isabella González and Juliette Capehart, the photographer's daughter.

SamoHi's first 2021 graduation was on a gorgeous day, as California loosened its Covid restrictions. There are still many rules to follow for everyone's safety.

We were all sent the guidelines ahead of the ceremony. The principal read the rules to us ahead of the ceremony, because it was only by complying with the county guidelines, were we able to have a graduation. People were asked not to congregate afterwards, and to keep their masks on. But I would say most family kept a distance from others. The theme of the graduation: Resilience.

SamoHi split their 2021 graduation into two, by alphabet, with about 300 graduates per day. The first part of the alphabet graduated on Wednesday June 9th, and the second half Thursday June 10th, 2021 at 5:30. Both ceremonies were live streamed, so you may tune in anytime and watch them on Youtube.

There were limited tickets. Each graduate was only allowed 3 tickets and that was firm this year, no exceptions.

Those 3 ticket holders had to sit in a pod together in the amphitheater, with a distance between each pod. You got seated in a place and that was it.

The amphitheater was filled, and it looked lovely. It was beautiful! It was a wonderful ceremony

Speakers included SMMUSD School Superintendent Ben Drati, SamoHi Principal Antonio Shelton, ASB President Mateo Marquez, and the Senior Class President Martin Adera.

The Wednesday ceremony featured a number of performers. Alexander Homami sang "I will remember you." Minya Collins sang "Feeling Good," Dixie Lovett and Elizabeth Mozolyuk did a duet, "The Climb," and then the diplomas were presented.

Jen Maxcy

Samohi graduation 2021 included some strict protocols.

It felt a bit shorter than a graduation with the entire class. But it was also a perfect length to sit in the setting June sun and listen as the kids names were read.

It certainly wasn't as raucous as my son's 2019 graduation, which was a giant party. No noisemakers and people wore masks, which muffled noise. But it was no less celebratory and lovely. The Class of 2020 after all, had their graduation live-streamed, and that was all they could do due to the worldwide pandemic.

I sensed a universal feeling of gratitude for just being able to be there was expressed by all the kids who spoke, and the other speakers.

Each speaker began with an expression of joy and thanksgiving, for just being able to be there. It was palpable. Nothing like being locked down for 15 months, to let you appreciate a graduation that you take for granted in ordinary times.

 

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