As the sun set over Delmar Stadium, 10 graduating seniors clad in bright red caps and gowns took the stage to introduce a special video making its debut at Bellaire High School’s graduation.
The seven-minute video introduced the school’s record-breaking nine valedictorians and salutatorian to the hundreds gathered for the ceremony and recapped key moments over the past four years.
“I think we can all agree it’s been one hell of a year,” said Valedictorian Wenson Tang, who opened the video from a table at The Teahouse Tapioca and Tea near the cardinal campus. “From COVID-19 and online school to snow and the Texas freeze, from political drama to social reform, 2021 is not a year to forget.”
The engine is the heart of the plane, but the pilot is its soul.
This rings true for Sterling Aviation Early College High School graduate Tryniti Ernest, the first Black female to graduate from the school with a pilot’s license in 16 years.
Ranked fifth in her class and serving as student body vice president, Ernest soars high above the rest walking away with not only her diploma and pilot’s license, but also the $2,500 Superintendent’s Scholars Award.
But for Leslee Cruz—a senior at Wisdom High School and editor of that school’s yearbook—the 2020-2021 school yearbook was harder than ever. Chronicling a school year with masked smiles, six feet of distance, virtual learning, and all the other interruptions the school year had was a unique—and difficult—task to undertake.
“With the yearbook, it was a lot of taking control because I was the leader and having to tell everyone how to move forward. It was definitely a bit suffocating at times when all I had was my computer and my room,” she said. “But it was good to have that because it kept me focused on school.”
Seniors from North Forest High School waited anxiously as they held their tassels in their hands for the moment they could switch them to the left side of their graduation caps. Overhead, the sun was bright above Delmar Field on Saturday afternoon.
It was a similar scene at a trio of sites across the district—Delmar Field, Butler Field, and Barnett Stadium—as Houston Independent School District held its graduation ceremonies for seniors throughout the weekend, 45 of them in all.