SEVEN SPRINGS — Denisse Romero-Avila stood before Spring Creek High’s 154 graduating seniors and said commencement felt like a “great accomplishment” during Saturday’s ceremony in the Gators football stadium.
Romero-Avila, vice president of the Student Government Association, celebrated with the Class of 2021 as they turned their tassels following a year of hard work with an added layer of difficulty during the pandemic.
Spring Creek Principal Stephen Clingan said senior year brought multiple challenges for students and teachers, which made commencement even more meaningful this year.
He said commencement that edged closer to a traditional ceremony brought a sense of normalcy for students.
“These last 14 or 15 months have been extremely difficult for everybody, not just in education but across the world,” Clingan said. “That difficulty has certainly been reflected in the school system. There have been a lot of different transitions throughout the year that made it very trying, difficult and challenging.
“But in the end, all you can do is your best, and I think that is what the staff and the students did.”
At the beginning of the school year, Spring Creek High students, like others in the county public school system, were required to take online classes until students were given the option to continue online or attend in-person classes for part of the week. The change required teachers to adjust their curriculums to fit the needs of online students and students attending school in person.
After a year of a different learning format, Clingan said graduation was a sign that things were once again returning to normal.
“I think graduation was a sense of a return to normalcy for our students, and hopefully it was a good way to cap their most unusual last year and a half of school, (that included part of) their junior year and their entire senior year,” Clingan said. “Also, certain activities that would normally be held annually, like prom and other award ceremonies, had to be postponed or canceled altogether.
“So that the fact that we had somewhat normal conditions (for graduation), I think it was a good step for the kids.”
After Clingan told the Class of 2021 to turn their tassels, the graduates celebrated with cheers, hugs and photos with friends, classmates and family.