MILWAUKEE — After nearly a year of learning behind a screen, the class of 2021 finished strong. On Friday, Milwaukee Public Schools held its final ceremony, graduating more than 530 students.
"While the pandemic has been traumatic, it has also revealed your character, resilience and commitment," said Dr. Juan A Baez as he addressed the senior class of Milwaukee School of Languages
Seniors at Cedarburg High participated in an outdoor ceremony, appreciating the in-person moment.
"You got the greatest cheat sheet to life you'll ever get because the true meaning and everything that you learn about is about people," said the school's principal.
Two co-valedictorians rose above the academic challenges many faced through virtual learning.
"I’m shocked that I’m valedictorian because I kind of fell off this year attendance-wise, because it was hard getting up in the morning," said Darrell Campbell.
Facing many obstacles, Campbell became a caretaker for his grandmother after she fell sick at the beginning of his senior year.
"I had to restructure my entire schedule to make sure I was there for her," said Campbell.
Balancing a job, caring for his grandmother and somehow managing to graduate top of his class with a 3.7 GPA, Campbell has plans to attend Marquette University in the fall with a dream of helping more senior citizens like his grandmother.
Daya Pierce, also graduating as co-valedictorian, struggled with depression throughout her high school career.
"It was definitely a struggle to stay motivated," said Pierce.
She has plans to attend Clark-Atlanta University in the fall to study psychology.
"I feel like there’s not a lot of people that look like me in that field," Pierce said.
100% of the seniors graduating Hope Christian High School are set to attend college.