Editorial: Congratulations, graduates 

A giant congratulations to Mount Desert Island High School’s Class of 2021. 

You did it.  

This past year was a challenge, no doubt, but here we are in June and inching ever so slowly back to normal—an encouraging sign of things to come as you step off the stage and into the so-called real world. While it may not have been the senior year that many anticipatedthe 138 students who received their diplomas on Sunday made the best of it.  

The 2021 graduates have ridden the COVID roller coaster through the pinnacle days of their high school careers. Schools — and pretty much everything else — shut down abruptly in mid-March of their junior year. The senior year that followed has felt fractured both academically and socially. Some students thrived, or at least adapted, in a hybrid or remote learning environment. Others floundered or simply disappeared, not logging into virtual class or responding to repeat inquiries from school staff. Extracurriculars, including theater, music and sports, were curtailed or cancelled. Morale and mental health suffered. 

To all the graduates who put in the work to make it to this stage, and to the families and school staff who supported them, we salute you. No celebration can fully recognize what you have accomplished.  

Now with restrictions falling away and futures unfolding, it is prime time for members of the Class of 2021 to re-engage with each other, the community and the world at large. If there is one thing that we have learned over the past 15 months, it is that humans do not thrive in isolation. We will take actual face time over virtual FaceTime, thank you very much.  

Employers, certainly, are eager to meet this year’s grads. There are openings, whether you are entering the workforce permanently or have hours to spare this summer before heading off to college. Take advantage of being a hot commodity. Build that bank account and gain some work experience.  

Now is the part where we are supposed to leave you with some words of wisdom, but we will confess to scratching our heads. You have already discovered that life is not always fair. That sometimes you must bend to the point of breaking — and then bend some more. That doing the right thing can be the hardest path. We hope you have also learned to look for the positive. To set goals and take calculated risks. To live life fully because it can change in a moment.  

Congratulations, Class of 2021. The future is yours. Make the most of it. 

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