NHS Class of 2021 celebrates final day of classes

NILES – The Niles High School drumline led a parade of graduating seniors through the halls of the school Wednesday morning. Students, staff and faculty lined the halls to applaud the graduates as they began their last day of class.

Many wore matching T-shirts that bore the words “Seniors 2021: It’s been fun, but I’m glad it’s done” after weathering a second school year marked with the COVID-19 pandemic, which mean quick transitions to virtual and remote learning, quarantines and shifting protocols over the last year.

Niles High School Principal Molly Brawley said 162 seniors will be participating in graduation in the coming week.

“We went into this year with the same attitude as last year – to try to recreate our typical event but still follow mitigation measures to keep our school family and community safe,” Brawley said of celebrations like the school parade. “As the school year comes to a close, we have discussed numerous times how nice it has been to be with the seniors in-person on a day to day basis. Their excitement for this time in their life is contagious and feeling those emotions in-person fuels us as well.”

The 2020 class was celebrated in remote ways with yard signs, a billboard bearing the top 10 students of the class, and outdoor graduation in the school’s parking lot. Brawley said some of those distanced “traditions” were kept from last year.

“We still did our top 10 billboard and student yard signs, which we haven’t done prior to the pandemic,” she said.

The “senior walk” was started a few years ago, Brawley said. In the past, the graduating class would visit Brandywine and Merritt Elementary schools in their caps and gowns.

“This year, for safety reasons, we did a Senior Walk ‘out” when they left their classrooms for the final time,” Brawley said. “Our study body lined the halls and shared their goodbyes as seniors headed towards their final senior meeting in the auditorium. Project Graduation provided every senior with the last day t-shirt for their panoramic class photo.”

Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, Niles High School hosted is 100th Annual Scholarship Assembly. A total of $107,381 scholarships and more than 60 awards from local organizations were awarded to members of the class of 2021. The amount did not include any funding or awards from colleges, universities and organizations outside of the high school’s local program.

The seniors will walk in a graduation ceremony hosted on Thursday, May 27.

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