By Leah Sander
AKRON — There are 132 new Tippecanoe Valley High School alumni.
The TVHS Class of 2021 was celebrated during the school’s graduation ceremony Sunday afternoon, June 6, at the school’s gym.
One thing that was celebrated was their resilience.
“You stood before us as the graduating class, who easily has had the windingest road to get here,” said TVHS Principal Brandon Kresca in his speech.
“Class of 2021, I stand before you, your family and community and proudly say that you are likely the most resilient group of students to graduate Tippecanoe Valley High School. You’ve been through a lot during these years and it’s made all of you stronger.”
Kresca then said that the graduates have remained “humble and kind” in spite of their circumstances, referring to Tim McGraw’s song “Humble and Kind.”
“Each of you has a certain level of tenacity,” he continued. “You all display the Viking spirit. And this is exactly why, Class of 2021, I know that each and every one of you will be successful as you embark on your new journey.”
Salutatorian Hannah Engstrand talked about what she and her classmates experienced during their high school years.
“These past four years have been some of the toughest of my life,” she said. “From the tragic bus accident to the passing of Valley legend Coach (Jeff) Shrive (Shriver) to our recent loss of B (Valley student Brendyn Stump), a kid with so much potential, and even the COVID pandemic, but we made it and we did it together.”
She tied that into how the Valley “family” has cared for each other during those times. She encouraged her classmates to look for people in the future who can be with them through good and bad times.
“I am forever thankful to be a part of this school and this community and for the forever families and relationships created,” she said.
Mackenzie Costello, Class of 2021 valedictorian, also referenced in her speech how the Valley community has helped each other through bad times.
“These last two years specifically have been very difficult for many due to some losses and the uncertainty that came with COVID-19, but we are fortunate enough to have a student body and school corporation and staff that did all they could to be supportive and try their best to make school as positive and normal as possible,” she said.
“As we move on to the next chapter of our lives, whether that is attending college, joining the workforce or going in our armed forces, I hope everyone can carry on the sense of family we’ve learned with the people around us and carry on the resiliency we have learned over these last couple of years,” she said.