Burlington High School grads celebrate after challenging 4 years

Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 4:27 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - High school graduation season is here, and for students at Burlington High School, it’s definitely a time to celebrate. Our Kiana Burks was at their ceremony Friday and has the story of how the city’s Class of 2022 made it through a challenging four years.

Some 229 students walked onto the athletic fields of Burlington High School Friday morning for their graduation.

Having the chance to experience the ceremony together is something that students say they are not taking for granted.

“It’s been a rough four years... we’ve been through a lot, like a lot. We’re in a mall,” said Rehema Abdi, the senior emcee for the Burlington Class of 2022.

From going completely remote to going to class in a department store, students at Burlington High School have had to overcome a multitude of roadblocks.

When toxic chemicals were found in their previous school building, students were left learning from home in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic until school officials could find another solution.

“Your high school career has been interrupted significantly. Your school closed down. You had almost a full year without being together in a building. You navigated a pandemic, changed principals, assistant principals and superintendents, and you finished your career in a retrofitted mall. I know this was hard on you. But despite all that, you have had such a positive energy,” Burlington School Superintendent Tom Flanagan said.

Graduating senior and student speaker Seth Harte says that although the shifts were tough getting used to, what he really missed most was being together with his classmates.

“What was hard really hard was being alone. Motivation was lost and I think the greatest reason for that was being away from each other. The BHS community made me see the beauty in people. When our community was broken, the people that I stand before today rose up and built it back stronger,” Harte said.

Friday, this year’s seniors were able to reunite as a class one last time and celebrate their accomplishments together.

“I’m proud; we should all be proud,” Abdi said. “After everything the last few years has thrown at us, we persevered and are finally finishing it out strong.”

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