Last night, the Cartersville High School Class of 2021 graduated. And in true pandemic fashion, the year of never-ending challenges refused to let up.
Storms came. The sky raged and splintered. The clouds shuddered and roared. Sheets of rain raced across the stadium, pummeling the stage where the seniors were at that very moment supposed to be receiving their diplomas.
About forty people (school administrators, teachers, and techies) huddled beneath a tiny tent just right of center stage (to protect the sound equipment inside, not themselves).
The stands were empty, families and friends recently vacated to parked car interiors, teachers hunkered down in the field house. It would prove a stuffy, stormy, two-hour delay.
The seniors, robed and tasseled and anxious to get the show on the road, were huddled inside the school gym, appropriately named The Storm Center.
The graduates knew the rain was coming. School officials knew the rain was coming. They’d all been watching their weather apps the entire week. Watching as the chance of thunderstorms kept climbing, finally topping out at 100% .
But the seniors had taken a vote. They didn’t care if it was midnight, come hell or high water (and oh, how that high water came), graduation would be Friday. Too many had too many plans Saturday: family leaving, family vacations, graduation parties, Life.
But first, came the ceremony… and 2021 was’t done making mischief just yet.
The families and seniors had just taken their seats when class representative Alli Archer welcomed the crowd. As she commented on her class’s perseverance, the lights in the stadium flickered and failed.
But this was just one more hurdle the seniors sailed past. They cheered their defiance. Friends and family took up their cause and thousands of phones lit up the stands in solidarity.
The effervescent energy of this class is contagious and God took note.
Class secretary Robert Novak concluded his prayer with a hallowed Amen when God restored all the lights. Chill bumps and cheers erupted in the stadium.
2021 would not, could not, win.
Despite the hardships and hurdles flung their way, this senior class — this beautiful, resilient 2021 class — didn’t just weather the storm, they owned it. And how could they not? They are Cartersville Purple Hurricanes. It’s in their genes.