From Virtual Schooling to the Real World — The MHS Class of 2022 Emerges Undaunted
By Barbara A. Preston | June 30, 2022
Class President Adriana Papadakis recalled the unusual high school experience of Montgomery High School’s 376 graduates during her speech at Cougar Stadium under clear blue skies on Thursday, June 23.
COVID shut down their school half-way through their sophomore year, and she and her classmates got to experience remote learning. School dances, clubs, sports and academic competitions, band — the experiences most high schoolers take for granted — were suddenly stripped away from these kids.
Montgomery High School Class of 2022 prepares to enter Cougar Stadium.
President Papadakis recalled some of ways her generation coped with the pandemic and bonded.
“During on-line school we stayed up super late with friends on FaceTime, and fell asleep during Zoom class the next day,” she said. “We covered our walls with LED lights and posters and we tried out Tik-Tok recipes.
“We were traumatized by Chloe Tang and drive-by birthday parties. We were saved by Netflix, Spotify, and socially-distanced picnics with our friends.
“Sophomore year, we also attended protests,” she said. “And learned to advocate for what we believe is right. We had important discussions, and made our voices heard from the confines of our own bedrooms.”
Through social media and small gatherings, the Class of 2022 persevered through an entire year of separation during their junior year, she said. “We developed hobbies, diving deeply in music, books, and movies to stay sane,” Papadakis recalled.
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Then, as seniors, with a return to in-person school, the Class of 2022 “realized we had lived through a period at MHS” that future generations will “never, ever understand.”
“As seniors, we had to relearn how to communicate, and how to study, and how to take a test with integrity. We made it through Calculus class against all odds. We went to Disney, and then tore up the dance floor at prom. In one school year, we rebuilt our ... community,” she concluded
Photo Gallery of MHS Class of 2022 Graduation
Principal Is Proud of Class
Principal Heather Pino-Beattie addressed the class, giving advice and thanking the Class of 2022 for educating her in return.
“All of you have unknowingly passed advice on to me,” she said. “Your high school career has been quite different, to say the least, from the many classes that came before you.
"Marred by the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and ... issues of racial justice and equity, you’ve all had a high school experience that has been anything but typical. I am so proud of how you each stepped up and found your voice — advocating for what is right and fair, even when it’s not easy or popular.”
Pino noted that global crises have disrupted much of the today’s world. What has resulted is a new sense of solidarity, and a “culture of caring that is nothing like we’ve ever experienced before,” she said.
“What you have taught me, is to be a fan of each other. I have watched you support each other and lift each other up. My heart swells with pride." ■