Geneseo graduates honored in parade and ceremony

Claudia Loucks
Nathan McAvoy, left, and Carson Raya, Junior Marshals for the Geneseo 2021 Graduation Processional, wait for the students to line up for the procession to the football field.
The four sets of twins in the GHS Class of 2021 are, from left, Elizabeth Yost, Emily Yost, Carson Rice, Charlie Rice, Abbi Barickman, Maddi Barickman, Breann Keller and Brice Keller.
Geneseo High School Principal Travis Mackey talks with Ava Perrigo, center, and Evie Wilson, about their speeches prior to commencement exercises held Sunday on the Geneseo football field.
High school friends, from left, Hannah Dunk, Faith Henderson, Brenna McGuire and Allie Mackey pose for a photo just before lining up for the graduation processional held Sunday in Geneseo.
Tannen Rink gets some help with his graduation gown from mom Kari Rink prior to the Geneseo Graduation Parade held Sunday.
Ally Nelson helps Tanner Burgett with his graduation cap as they wait for the Graduation Parade to begin
Mom Katie Kutsunis and daughter Eleni Andrios pose for a photo before the Graduation Parade Sunday in Geneseo.
Avery Magerkurth, left, hands a shoe to Esther Brown as they wait for the beginning of the Graduation Parade held for the Geneseo Class of 2021 prior to ceremonies on the football field
Thomas Robinson, left, Riley Nelson and Nathan Beneke are ready for the Graduation Parade to begin.
Robyn Nelms shares some laughter with her parents, Rob and Stacey Nelms, prior to the start of the parade held Sunday for Geneseo’s Class of 2021. She is seated in a 1965 Lincoln Continental, owned by Dick and Nancy Baum.
Bridgett Fitzpatrick rode with son Logan Fitzpatrick in the Geneseo High School Graduation Parade.
GHS senior Zach Andersen was in a Ford Mustang convertible in Geneseo’s Graduation Parade
Bruce Moore, left, and Mitch Wirth, graduating seniors in Geneseo’s Class of 2021, will continue their education at University of Illinois for Moore and at Iowa State for Wirth.
Brooke Harms, left, and Jenah Hart put the banners on the back of the truck they rode in for the Geneseo High School Parade.
Hayden Curcuru, left, rides with his parents as they line up for the Graduation Parade of decorated vehicles held prior to commencement exercises on Sunday, May 23

Graduates in the Geneseo High School Class of 2021 were honored with a parade and commencement exercises on Sunday, May 23.

Their “big day” began with a 1 p.m. parade from the south end of town, passing by all three elementary schools, the middle school and St. Malachy’s, before concluding at the high school where the graduates gathered in the school gym before lining up for the processional to the football field for the final commencement ceremony.

There are 226 graduates in the GHS Class of 2021. Ninety-four of the graduates received summa cum laude honors for having cumulative grade point averages of 3:74 and above.

Twenty-nine students received magna cum laude honors for having cumulative grade point averages from 3.50 to 3.74, and 25 students in the Class of 2021 received cum laude honors for having cumulative grade point averages of 3.25 to 3.49.

After the welcome given by Geneseo High School Principal Travis Mackey, graduating seniors Ava Perrigo and Evelyn Wilson presented Class speeches. All graduates were invited to submit speeches to read at graduation and a committee selected two speeches to be read at commencement.

Perrigo traced the four years at GHS and said, “Throughout the entirety of my freshman year I got told ‘it goes by so fast, enjoy every bit of it’. I remember thinking, ‘yeah sure, I’m a freshman in high school now I know what I’m doing’. I did not know what I was doing….As cliché as it sounds, life is a big journey full of twists and turns and everyone is just trying to get to their end destination.”

She cited the losses the class has endured, and said, “We have also been given the opportunity to learn difficult lessons early. We are able to understand the advice, ‘it goes by so fast, enjoy every bit of it’ like no other.”

She encouraged her classmates to “cherish the sound of your best friend’s laugh, call your grandma for just five minutes, give your hugs a little tighter, acknowledge when you’re making a memory, enjoy every bit of it.”

“What I would do to go back to the winter of sophomore year when we were all snowed in and thought two weeks off of school was a long time,” Perrigo said. “1,370 days ago we walked into Geneseo High School, but we are not the same people walking out.”

Wilson began with, “I think we knew by the time August rolled around last year that we wouldn’t be experiencing the ‘High School Musical” version of our senior year that we all dreamed of. The fall went by with few social engagements, and we weren’t even seeing half of the student body. The days felt programmed and robotic, like everyone was scared to truly express themselves, or maybe it’s just that we had forgotten how to act after being quarantined from one another for so long.”

As the year progressed and restrictions were lifted, Wilson said, “I finally started to see everyone embrace their true colors and reveal the version of themselves that had beenhidden behind the mask, literally. Navigating this deceptive winding, unknown year, we were finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

“We’ve definitely missed out on a lot of experiences that everyone looks forward to their senior year, but the truth is, our class battled this pandemic with our hearts set on engaging on a bigger, more fulfilling goal: enjoy the things life does give us and focus on all of the opportunities we do have. In retrospect, we not only learned, but we truly lived these truths by not taking what we have for granted and remaining thankful for the present moment.”

She concluded with, “Not only did we take the year for what it was and make the absolute best of it, but we also learned the true value of one another and how precious life is.”

Geneseo School Superintendent Dr. Adam Brumbaugh presented the Class of 2021 and diplomas were presented by members of the Geneseo Board of Education.