By Dakota Antelman, Managing Editor
HUDSON – The Hudson High School Class of 2021 reflected on tradition, self care and the spectre of COVID-19 while gathered on the field at the Morgan Bowl on June 5.
In a ceremony that was up in the air in terms of its plans until recent coronavirus restrictions lifted last month, students received their diplomas, and a number of leaders addressed the crowd.
“Who would have thought that we would be here in person,” asked class secretary Elenor Calandra in a short welcome address. “It’s been an interesting last two years, but we have made the best of it, and it has come to an end.”
In addition to singing in twin performances by the schools acapella choir, Cameratta, salutatorian Ilan Levine took the stage shortly after Calandra to similarly discuss the experiences he and his classmates had, particularly over the last two years.
“This year’s ceremony represents something more,” he said. “We are moving forward to a new beginning in our lives and finding our way back to the paths we had once imagined.”
Delivering his remarks, Levine paused to recognize members of the crowd who have recently lost someone to COVID-19 or to “the hands of injustice,” marking a nod towards the nation’s simultaneous reckoning with the coronavirus and systemic racism over the last 18 months.
Levine, who was recently elected as one of the youngest School Committee members in Hudson’s history, then turned his attention to the broader concept of “tradition.”
“One of the several lessons we have learned from the pandemic is to break tradition, challenge institutions, be skeptical and think critically about the world around us,” he said. “…We see tradition as the outline to fill in with our own innovation. We maintain the values of our institutions without letting them serve as barriers to our creativity.”
Outside of Levine’s address, graduation attendees also heard from valedictorian Amanda Howe, Class President Maia Frias and Principal Jason Medeiros among others.
Taking the stage, himself, Superintendent Marco Rodrigues had a simple direction for students.
“Let the energy of today soak in as much as it can,” he said. “And let it be the beginning of a transformative future.”