Class of 2021 graduates
The largest graduating class in the history of Newton High School walked across the graduation stage May 22, in a new place thanks to COVID-19.
The class of 2021 was the first class in NHS history to host ceremonies at a location other than Fischer Field or the high school. More than 250 students received diplomas during a ceremony at Hartman Arena in Park City.
The arena was chosen, months ago, in order for planners and high school staff to have only one place to plan a ceremony for — traditionally the ceremony was at Fischer Field in Athletic Park, but moved to the high school in the case of rain. According to principal Caleb Smith, in order to observe social distancing guidelines for COVID-19, the high school was not a usable alternative in the case of rain.
To members of the class of 2021, it was just another "first."
"There have been a lot of first to take place in our class," said student body president Eli Redington. "There have been a lot of roadblocks that we have had to overcome, not just this year, but over many years."
The class of 2021 was the first sixth-grade class to use Chromebooks in a one-to-one environment in middle school. The class was also the first to have access to Ag Academy, This is also the first graduating class for Smith, and superitendent Fred Van Rankin.
"One of the recent firsts we have had is being able to perform in front of a live audience for band, and to sit [in Hartman Arena] today," Redington said.
COVID-19 concerns, and the adjustments made by the school district during the past year, were discussed openly during commencement ceremonies. Those discussions drew a standing ovation for the class of 2021.
"The class of 2021 took on, and defeated, a global pandemic in their junior and senior years. For that they deserve a standing ovation," Smith said during his opening remarks of the ceremony.