CCHS class of 2021 graduates 450

By BRITTANY FHOLER
Cove Leader-Press

Members of the Copperas Cove High School Class of 2021 buzzed with excitement as they waited for their chance to walk across the stage to accept their diplomas at the Commencement Ceremony held Friday evening at the Bell County Expo Center. 
After switching to virtual learning during their second semester of their junior year and spending their senior year either on campus wearing masks or at home virtually learning, 450 students finally made it to the finish line of their high school career. 
The Class of 2021 received more than $1.7 million in academic and athletic scholarships, and of the 450 total graduates, 339 are going to colleges and universities across the state of Texas as well as other states, from Alaska to Florida and in between. They have selected majors such as business, dietetics, psychology, EMT, computer engineering, aerospace engineering, criminal justice, theater, mathematics, allied health science, physics, biomedical science, pre-med, nutrition, theater, global studies, international relations, fashion merchandising and countless more. 
Thirteen graduates wore a red, white and blue honors cord to signal that they were going into the United States military. 
Cameron Day is one of the students going into the military. Day is a member of the National Honor Society, volunteered at his church and was on the Varsity Tennis team. After graduation, he will be attending the Air Force Academy. 
“I’m really excited about the Air Force Academy and the opportunity that it brings and I’m just excited for the adventure to come from it all,” Day said. 
Day was excited to be graduating with his classmates. 
“It’s crazy because it feels like freshman year was just yesterday,” he said. “Time really does fly.”
The ceremony opened with the posting of the colors by the CCHS JROTC and the playing of the National Anthem by the Pride of Cove Band. 
Senior Class president Emma Miller recognized special guests before giving their speech that highlighted all of the worldly events the Class of 2021 has gone through. 
“Each of us were brought into this world at the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom which was a response to respond to one of the most tragic events in the United States,” Miller said. “We graduate in the ending phases of a global pandemic, continuing to prosper in times of uncertainty and change.”
She encouraged the graduates to find new opportunities and find their passion but also remember that as a new adult they are still allowed to say ‘I don’t know’ and ‘I’ll get back to you.’
Class of 2021 Salutatorian Kacy Carter also shared words of wisdom with her classmates, who have made it through four years of high school that included a global pandemic, a winter storm and more. 
“No matter the obstacles, every senior here has displayed perseverance and they are ready to walk across the stage together,” Carter said. “High school certainly developed us into the people we are today.”
Class of 2021 Valedictorian Alexcia Gaines gave a message of perseverance and pushing through, much like the Class of 2021 has done throughout the global pandemic that led to campus closures, virtual learning and then transitioning back to on-campus learning. 
“Whatever we decide to do after this day, we must remember to do it with unyielding persistence,” Gaines said. “Work for that promotion and study for that next test. No matter what we are doing, don’t become discouraged by any bumps in the road. We have been through far too much to give up now. Mistakes may happen, but that’s how we learn. We can’t let anything, and I mean anything, get us down.”
Gaines quoted British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who said, “Success is the ability to go on from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
CCISD Superintendent Joseph Burns gave a heartfelt speech on the success of the graduates throughout their high school careers, listing the many accomplishments from scholarships to college acceptance and more. 
“They have persevered through FaceTime, to face-to-face instruction, through Zoom meetings, through audio recordings, through videos made by their teachers and then some through videos made by each other,” Burns said. 
Burns shared a message of encouragement for the graduates to remember how special they are and to stay steadfast in their faith and beliefs, even as they are challenged as they leave home. 
He quoted Matthew 17:20, where Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
“Remember this, folks. The Master makes no mistakes. You are unique, and you are special, and you are wonderfully made,” Burns said. 
Burns also encouraged the graduates to take advantage of the opportunities that come their way. 
“You need to understand, folks, life is not a lottery, not based on some random chance. It’s purposeful and meaningful,” Burns said. “Opportunity comes to those who are prepared mentally, physically and spiritually. Don’t stand on the pier and wait for your ships to come in. When you see it pass by, jump in the ocean of life, swim out to your ship full of opportunities and take your rightful place in society.”

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