GRADUATION: Congratulations, West Seattle High School Class of 2021!

(WSB photos/video)

That customized cap said it all at the West Seattle High School Class of 2021‘s commencement ceremony, this morning at Memorial Stadium downtown. The distanced seating on the field was another reminder of everything that’s happened as the pandemic raged in both their junior and senior years:

But while there was a moment of silence for COVID-19 victims, and other ceremony modifications – no music except for recordings of the National and Black National Anthems – the mood was as joyful as a graduation should be – listen to the cheers during the opening processional:

This was the ceremony that almost didn’t happen – earlier in the year, the district was leaning toward a second year of virtual graduations – but that drew a community outcry. Among the leaders of the campaign for in-person graduates, WSHS’s student-body president Ella Richardson, who spoke at today’s ceremony:

She noted that this was the first time she was able to address her classmates, and also said their WSHS years were about much more than the pandemic. They took action on many issues. And she expressed gratitude to the “small army” who got the 279-strong class to this point: “Support is a mystical and beautiful thing.” Among those who provided it, teacher Tom Burggraff, chosen by the students as the ceremony’s staff speaker:

He also had words of thanks, humorously expressing appreciation for the students who helped him through technology issues, and told the class he had an acronym for them – STUDs – “strive, think, understand, do.” The ceremony lasted just under an hour, with the traditional cap toss near its end:

Another memorable moment – principal Brian Vance led the grads, staff, and families in a “spelldown,” first of the year since they hadn’t been together for all-class gatherings – “W-E-S-T-S-I-D-E.”

ADDED: Here’s the district video of the ceremony.

2 Replies to "GRADUATION: Congratulations, West Seattle High School Class of 2021!"

  • Elle Nell June 12, 2021 (8:37 pm)

    Wow- how wonderful!! Haven’t heard anything planned for the class of 2020 who had nothing but a video… a commencement of some sort would be nice! No prom, no walk/commencement. I’d love to see them get a nice recognition (in person)!! GO WESTSIDE!!

    • Teacher June 13, 2021 (10:20 am)

      The students would need to galvanize. Students campaigned for in-person graduation with a petition an all. This was all student driven and it worked. 

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