ST. MICHAELS — One word fits the graduating class of St. Michaels High School: motivated. Forty of the 64 graduates in the class of 2021 will move on to a two- or four-year university, and the rest already have plans to attend trade school or join the workforce.

A graduation ceremony was held outside the high school at Saints Field Athletic Stadium on June 8. Graduates in black gowns and red sashes flipped their tassels and tossed their caps after receiving their diplomas.

The class was lauded for earning $4 million in scholarship money, $197,000 of which is local grants and funds.

St. Michaels High also congratulated the 2021 graduates for earning excellence awards in academic studies across the board, as well as for athletics and for community service. Nearly every student was honored for some award.

The class was so successful it had two salutatorians: Madelyn LaBelle and Hannah Seek. The valedictorian was Kristin Lednum.

In her speech, Lednum said she had lived up to her own dream of becoming valedictorian. During freshman year, she had written a letter to herself saying she hoped to graduate with the school’s highest honor. When she achieved that, she was proud of herself.

Lednum paid respects to her class and her education at St. Michaels for her achievement.

“I’m very appreciative for the opportunities I have been given throughout my time here at St. Michael’s, which I know would not have happened in a larger school setting,” she said. “St. Michael’s has provided us with an entirely different experience. For me, personally, going from a close-knit community and family in Tilghman Island to another made the transition to high school a breeze.”

The graduates will not waste any time getting ready for their adult lives. Lily Ball, who participated in various clubs at St. Michaels, including the color guard and theater group, will be moving all the way to Texas Christian School to study marketing. She’ll be far from the friends she made the past four years, though.

“I’m going to miss all of my friends at theater, because I made friends on all different age levels,” she said. “Some of them have graduated and some are still here.”

Jeremy Patchett, who was the captain of the baseball team at St. Michaels, will be staying closer to home. He will be heading to Delaware Technical Community College to study exercise science and play college ball.

“It’s definitely really cool to get it over with and move on in life,” he said. “At the same time, it feels like an unfinished chapter. We didn’t get a full year. But it’s cool we got to (graduate) together.”

Other students also said it was tough finishing out their high school academic career during a pandemic. Madelyn LaBelle, who was vice president of the school’s National Honor Society and with the Student Government Association, said the last year-and-a-half was “hectic.”

“I am so happy to finally be done,” she said. “It was a very tough year but it was worth it.”

LaBelle will be heading to University of Maryland, College Park, to study political science. She had some advice for next year’s graduates and freshmen just entering school.

“High school is definitely worth it,” she said, “but get it done as quickly as possible.”

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