‘Nothing is out of reach’: Hawks celebrate graduation milestone | Education
As the final minutes of their time as students of Urbana High School ticked away, Ruby Densock and Sarah Agnello were nervous — but not about the next chapter in their lives.
“I’m not afraid to graduate,” Densock said. “Just fall or go down the stairs.”
“Yeah, that’s a concern,” Agnello agreed with a laugh.
“Or my hat falls off if I look too high,” Densock added.
These fears did not come true for them, or any of their 468 other classmates.
The Hawks Class of 2022 was the largest public school in Frederick County. Each member successfully stepped onto the stage at Mount Saint Mary’s University on Thursday afternoon.
A packed Knott Arena erupted to deafening applause as graduate number 470 received his diploma. And the only hats that fell were those that were thrown, triumphantly, in the air.
For Densock and Agnello, going to high school was a privilege.
“There are more opportunities to find your niche,” Agnello said.
For Agnello, it was theater. She worked as a technical director for Urbana’s theater program this year. She plans to study theater management at DePaul University in Chicago.
Principal Dave Kehne said the class of 2022 was the largest he had ever been in charge of. He highlighted their academic achievements: 346 of the graduates – nearly 75% of the class – received honors for their grade point averages, he said.
Kehne also praised the graduates for adapting to a global pandemic.
Isha Sahai, one of two lecturers in the class, recalled that many graduates were excited in March 2020, when they thought COVID-19 just meant a few extra days of spring break.
“From the joy of having breakfast in pajamas during class to learning how to finish homework when Netflix was just a click away, we learned about being independent and being responsible,” she said. “These skills of adaptation and perseverance may have been forced upon us, but they have become an integral part of who we are and what we can do.”
Despite the challenges they faced, the class of 2022 had unlimited potential, said Nickolas Barry, the other student lecturer.
“Nothing is out of reach unless we say so,” Barry told his classmates.
Many students were excited to go off to college, the job market, or the military. But they were also sorry to say goodbye.
Jedidiah Hart sat on the floor of the Mount gymnasium before the ceremony began. His foot hurt, his teachers said knowingly.
When asked why, Hart laughed. He had played a game of ma hunt – a complex form of tag – with friends the night before, running barefoot through the woods. He had opened his heel.
“Do you want to see a picture?” he asked enthusiastically.
The friends he played with were boys he met on the school football team. This program and his teammates are what he will miss the most when he leaves for Grove City College in northern Pennsylvania, he said.
But even with that sadness – and with the pain in his foot – Hart said he was ready.
“I feel absolutely wonderful,” he said with a smile on his face.