Kyle Clayton
Class of 2021 sisters Haley and Hannah Boron celebrate their graduation during a parade down Main Street Tuesday evening.

The Haines High School Class of 2021 paraded down Main Street Tuesday evening after their commencement ceremony at the school gymnasium.

Twenty seniors graduated at the in-person event attended by friends and family.

“It’s a cause for celebration at any time, but this year’s is magnified significantly…Most of all we’re thankful for the leadership of our students, especially of our seniors as you were bold enough to think that we could successfully make it to this moment in this school, in person, surrounded by family and friend and mentors,” Haines School superintendent Roy Getchell said. “In a year like no other, you made it look easy. I know it wasn’t.”

Principal Lilly Boron spoke to the hardships the students endured throughout the school year including the pandemic and the December storms that devastated the community.

“When I think about this year and what we’ve all experienced together, this is a moment we resolved to celebrate because these students are sitting here because of their hard work but also the love and support of this community and families, staff and teachers,” Boron said.

The senior class chose English teacher Alex Van Wyhe as their commencement speaker. Van Wyhe focused on several values he hopes the students will carry with them after graduation: sincerity, patience and slowness, and silence. He recollected a time when he was teaching the novel “Siddhartha” and took the students, as sophomores, to the Chilkat River to sit in silence and give them a break from a particularly hectic time.

“That image of sitting there with many of you stands out in my memory because of how necessary that silence was, even if you didn’t realize it at the time,” Van Wyhe said. “Sometimes, you have to just stop and step away from the challenges to be silent. It’s a luxury that not everyone realizes they can afford. When you’re able, I urge you all to carve out time for that type of silence in your lives and to protect it as essential.”

He also urged students to remain humble and curious throughout their lives.

“As much as you think you know, as much experience and knowledge as you can amass, as confident as you become in your own understanding, the world will and should remain a mysterious place full of opportunities to wonder and investigate and learn,” Van Wyhe said. “Please, stay curious and exercise humility every chance you get.”

Veteran and former state representative Bill Thomas presented Haley Boron with her United States Air Force Academy acceptance certificate. Boron was among the 1,206 men and women inducted into the academy his year.

Co-valedictorian Lydia Andriesen gave the valedictorian address in which she encouraged her classmates, saying they were well equipped to meet the uncertainties and unknowns that awaited them.

Aireona Davis.

“We have to search within ourselves and our past experiences to find which path we’re meant to take and which will make us the best versions of ourselves,” Andriesen said. “This is truly exciting. The school has shaped us into a mold intended for success. Now we need to break that mold and continue to shape our lives for ourselves.”

The concert choir sang Pinkzebra’s “I’m Still Your Dreamer” and Michael Glabicki’s “Send Me on My Way.” The treble choir sang Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten” and the man choir sang “What a Wonderful World.”

Andriesen, Haley and Hannah Boron, Carson Crager, Mark Davis, Yzella Miramontes and Eli Williamson were recognized as National Honor Society Members.