Bartlett seniors celebrate graduation after a challenging four years

Bartlett High School graduate Jasmine Ross pauses for a photograph as she waits to stroll throughout the stage. (Adam Nicely/Alaska Public Media)

More than 200 Bartlett High School seniors celebrated their commencement Monday night time. They walked into the Alaska Airlines Center sporting blue caps and robes with gold sashes and waved to relations within the stands.

It marked the conclusion of a highschool expertise bookended by two main occasions: the 2018 earthquake and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nearly every year here, we have faced some sort of uncontrollable, worldly challenge,” mentioned valedictorian Lucy Atkinson.

Principal Sean Prince mentioned the pandemic required college students to stay versatile amid altering well being mandates.

“You managed to demonstrate self-control as the rules of how to be in school changed daily,” he informed the category.

Class speaker Kaitlin Rose Chua praised her class’s resilience and accomplishments.

“Throughout the year, I’ve seen my peers create small businesses that are flourishing with support throughout the school,” she mentioned in her speech. “I’ve seen my peers win scholarship after scholarship to back up the big dreams they’ve had.”

Lucy Atkinson speaks as class valedictorian for the Bartlett High School graduation.
Valedictorian Lucy Atkinson speaks on the Bartlett High School commencement. (Adam Nicely/Alaska Public Media)

After the speeches, college students acquired their diplomas and shook palms with Prince, Superintendent Deena Bishop and every of the varsity’s academics.

Ken Tate teaches college students with bodily and cognitive disabilities. Three of them graduated from Bartlett this yr, and Tate sat with them throughout the ceremony. He mentioned on-line studying was a problem for each academics and college students.

“We learned to do things we didn’t think we could do. We had to teach in ways we didn’t know we could teach,” he mentioned after the ceremony. “To see these guys finish that journey means they’re being accepted as part of the Bartlett family, as part of the high school family.”

Eight of the district’s commencement ceremonies are being held on the Alaska Airlines Center. The pre-pandemic location, the Sullivan Arena, is at present being used as a homeless shelter. The district restricted the variety of tickets to 6 per pupil due to the smaller venue measurement.

A number of households waited outdoors the world throughout the ceremony as a result of there weren’t sufficient tickets for all members to take a seat inside. They held banners with images of their graduates and performed music. 

Tusi Frost Brown was outdoors, able to rejoice her twin nephews, Michael and Troy Ah Ching. She mentioned she and her household from Hawaii needed to indicate their assist after a difficult 4 years.

“It was a rough time, with the pandemic, but we still had faith in them and encouraged them that life goes on,” she mentioned. “I’m so proud of them and thank God for kids like them.”

Bartlett High School’s commencement was held on the Alaska Airlines Center this yr. (Adam Nicely/Alaska Public Media)

This yr additionally introduced modifications to the district’s cultural regalia coverage. Previously, college students had been required to inform the district in the event that they deliberate to put on cultural regalia. This yr, that requirement was waived. Students might additionally put on headdresses as a substitute of commencement caps.

Jasmine Ross wore a Dena’ina Athabascan stole adorned with crimson and white beaded flowers.

“It means a lot to my family,” she mentioned. “We’ve been through a lot these past few years. Being able to show my heritage has been a great opportunity, and I’m glad to show it with pride.”

After the ceremony, college students greeted relations outdoors the world, the place they took images, donned floral and sweet leis and popped confetti.

Graduation ceremonies proceed all through the following three weeks. The ceremonies held on the Alaska Airlines Center may even be livestreamed on the district’s YouTube web page.

A Bartlett High School graduate waits to walk across the stage.
A Bartlett High School graduate waits to stroll throughout the stage. (Adam Nicely/Alaska Public Media)

RELATED: From Hawaii to Alaska, sweet leis make commencement sweeter

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