Graduation ceremony packed with moments

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Graduation looked a little different this year for the Class of 2021, which was held Sunday, June 6 at Breitenbach Stadium in Middleton.

In all, more than 560 seniors from Clark Street Community School and Middleton High School participated in the ceremony. For more than a decade, the ceremony has been held at Alliant Energy Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Madison but District officials and high school administration decided to move it this year due to the uncertainty of what would be allowed by Public Health Madison Dane County officials.

The event was scheduled to start at 2 p.m. but was moved up to 10 a.m. due to forecasts of temperatures in the 90s.

Please visit this Google Photo's site to see more than 300 photos from the ceremony. The video from the graduation ceremony can also be viewed on YouTube:

Three students -- class president Faranak Hematti, and classmates Rose Giefer and Gene Kim -- gave speeches.

Senior vocalists Torii Snortum Haney (soprano), Emily Dickmeyer (alto), Nora Griffith (alto), Rija Ratsimihah (tenor), and Michael Chiaverini (bass) pre-recorded and  sang "The Star-Spangled Banner.''

It was 81 degrees when the ceremony started at 10:07 a.m. and windy throughout the 1-hour, 40-minute event.

Hematti thanked everyone who has helped the Class of 2021 on in its journey.

"We've accomplished so much. We truly made the most of our high school experience,'' she said. "It's time to celebrate all of our hard work.''

Giefer weaved anecdotes about the past with plans for the future. She noted as a sophomore she delivered a speech in a class where she said she was unsure about what the future held. She compared the work she and her classmates are doing now to the efforts to prepare a symphony.

"The music isn't the end, but it is unfinished,'' Giefer said. "We're constantly embracing new goals and learning new things. ... The soundtrack to our lives is still being composed. May you all compose a masterpiece one note at a time.''

Kim's speech included a water balloon. He noted some who fill a water balloon are afraid to put too much water in it because it may explode before it hits the intended target, while others put in too much water and don't get any self-satisfaction from seeing the balloon soak someone.

"Don't let fear and self-satisfaction limit you. I urge you to explore new things and leave your comfort zone,'' said Kim, who closed by taking one last selfie with his classmates. "Don't be complacent. I challenge you to stretch your limits.''

MHS principal Peg Shoemaker, Clark Street Community School  Jill Gurtner and Superintendent Dana Monogue also spoke at the ceremony. Board president Bob Hesselbeing and school board member Annette Ashley and Minza Karim also attended.

Monogue reminded the graduates how proud everyone associated with MCPASD is of them and that they spent nearly 20,000 hours in classrooms over the years.

"It may have seemed like a long time to each of you, but it went in a blink of the eye to your families,'' she said.