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After a largely virtual senior year, Harrisonburg High students celebrate at their in-person graduation

Photo story by Matt Young, contributor

One by one, Harrisonburg High School seniors crossed the stage at JMU’s Bridgeforth Stadium to receive their diplomas on Saturday. For the class of 2021 and their families, this wasn’t just a milestone — it was an experience they weren’t certain they’d have until a few weeks ago. 

Unlike last year, whose graduating classes in the area had drive-through graduations, this year’s graduates were rewarded for making it through school (including the last 15 months of mostly online learning) with a normal-ish ceremony.

The graduates filled sections of Bridgeforth Stadium. And members of the class of 2021 had no trouble showing their enthusiasm.

The Harrisonburg High School symphonic band started the ceremony with orchestral music as members of the graduating class filed into their seats.

The class of 2021 graduates had their families gathered in the stands to watch the graduation from a safe distance. The Campbell family cheered on their graduate, Grayson Marshall Campbell, when they saw him enter the stands. 

Following commencement speeches from the school’s principal Melissa Hensley and remarks from two other students, the graduating seniors made the most of their walks across the stage.

After the ceremony, proud family members celebrated with the new graduates.


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