NEWTOWN >> The Council Rock High School North Class of 2021 stepped into the future on June 10 with their masks down and their heads held high.

“Through every setback, we prevailed,” proclaimed Senior Class President Anna Cairone in addressing more than 400 of her classmates assembled for an in person graduation at Walt Snyder Stadium.

“We were lucky enough to have a prom, senior trip and a graduation in person. And by no means are any of these things a given,” she said. “If we learned nothing else this year, we learned never to take human interactions for granted,” she said.

Cairone pointed to the moments that brought her joy throughout the year - the fleeting glimpses of faces behind the masks and interactions beyond the virtual settings.

“People ran out from a tent in the pouring rain and started dancing without a care in the world. People posted pictures from Disney - childlike joy everywhere,” she said.

“We are gathered here today against countless odds and critics looking fly in our caps and gowns,” she said. “It’s no shock when I say joy was not prominent this year. Walking through the hallways in December masks were up and heads were down. Walking through the hallways on these last days of school, masks were down and heads were up.

“Moral was at an all time low, but in coming together at the end of the year we were reminded of what it feels like to be normal high school students,” she said. “We felt unconditional joy once again.”

Council Rock Senior Emmeline Hager, in her remarks to the class, said to bring meaning to the world you don’t need to be the best, do the biggest things and accomplish things no one else has.

“Some may be called to cure cancer, compete in the Olympics, win Nobel Peace Prizes, be the President or sing on large stages. These goals represent the biggest dreams that some of us strive for,” she said. “But any adult in this stadium would tell us we are more likely to heal broken relationships, exercise when we have free time, try to be the bigger person when we’ve been hurt, be presidents of PTOs and of unions or sing our children to sleep.

“No matter if we do very momentous things or very small things our future actions will matter when they are done with love and when they are done to support whom we love,” she said.

“As we embark on the journey of the rest of our lives, take each small and hidden opportunity to learn to better love and serve others. May we never give up opportunities to love just because we are not in the spotlight. May we accomplish great things, small things, transformational things, mediocre things, distinguished things and hidden things and may we do it all in the name of love.”

In her remarks to the class, Ava Ondik remembered back to when she was a child and the joy and fleeting wonderment of “Catching Fireflies.”

“Did you chase those tiny points of light as darkness fell? Do you remember the feeling of reaching out for one of those lights only to have it pass too far over your head? And do you remember the feeling you felt when you finally caught one? It would glow, you would blink and it would be gone. But that accompanying sense of wonder would linger a bit longer.

“For this moment, right now, try to remember that moment where you felt that sense of pure wonder, the type of wonder that felt like a spark,” she said. “Maybe it was laced with anticipation or expectation or surprise or hope.

“As you experience new horizons and relationships, as you become your own person don’t forget that sense of wonder. Never lose touch with that part of you that for a moment sparked at the notion that there was an entire world to explore, a world you could change.

“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder as you go into the unknown,” she said. “I hope you remember the passion and people you discovered as a student at Council Rock and how they changed you. I hope that if you ever feel down, if the reality of life threatens to overwhelm you look at the possibilities ahead, at the world ahead with the same sense of wonder that made you realize life was worth loving in the first place.

“So as you move on from Council Rock North, make sure to carry with you the fireflies you caught along the way.”

Principal Susan McCarthy will join the Class this year as it departs Rock North. McCarthy will be retiring after two decades at the helm of the high school.

Following the presentation of the class by Superintendent Dr. Robert Fraser, School Board member Andy Block announced the conferral of diplomas.

With that, Council Rock North’s newest graduates sent their caps flying into the air as classmates embraced and posed for photographs on the field.

Music was provided by the Council Rock North Select Choir under the direction of Ryan Carlin and the Council Rock North Combined Bands under the direction of Wayne Bishop.

And teachers Donald Foster and Diane L. Morris-Bauer presented the seniors for graduation.

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