By Leah Sander
WARSAW — More than 400 Warsaw Community High School Tigers earned their stripes on Friday, June 4.
Around 430 students walked in the high school’s graduation ceremony on Friday evening at Fisher Field. The Class of 2021 has 466 students, including non-diploma track students.
Friday’s ceremony was a contrast to last year’s graduation, which was delayed to July and featured fewer people related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic did come up in the various speakers’ talks. Speakers included WCHS Principal Troy Akers, Warsaw Community Schools Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert and WCHS Student Body President Hannah Hutton and Senior Class Co-Presidents Audrey Carl and Tessa Wood.
The commencement speaker, senior Elizabeth Stone, said she really didn’t want to bring up the pandemic in her speech “because it already has too much attention.”
“I do think it’s important to note that in our year full of lasts we were the first to graduate after the craziness of 2020,” she did say. “This year we did set a precedent. We learned what it meant to truly embrace change and tackle adversity. We became more cognizant of the world around us and the needs of others.”
“And now as we are bursting into this new phase of adulthood, we’ve become more fully aware, maybe even for the first time in our lives, that we are all a small part of a much bigger human experience,” she continued.
She encouraged her classmates to keep learning and praised them for their participation in extracurricular activities while in high school. She told them “to take control of what you do have power over” in the future regardless of their various post-graduate plans.
That came from the Class Motto, which was a quote by Steve Maraboli: “Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you do not.”
She thanked family, friends, teachers and school staff for helping the students reach graduation. She closed with a Theodore Roosevelt quote, which she said “perfectly exemplifies the grit of this class.”
“‘You see it is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly,'” she said.