During the Coon Rapids High School commencement ceremony June 6, student speaker Joseph Plueger reflected on the Class of 2021’s unconventional senior year.

“For us, it took time, ... it took strength,” Plueger said at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis.

To him, the class demonstrated perseverance throughout distance learning and navigating ever-changing restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If there’s anything we can learn from this past year, it’s how to persevere,” he said.

When it comes to new, more difficult challenges in the future, Plueger said the class is ready.

Senior representative David Obasi told the graduates their accomplishments at Coon Rapids are something to celebrate.

“You all found something to be proud of,” Obasi said.

Reese Ireland, another student speaker, never imagined her senior year playing out the way it did — away from friends and without typical sporting events and activities.

“I never thought our three-week spring break would turn into a year of distant learning,” Ireland said.

She advised the graduates to keep doing courageous things, even if it means facing criticism for being too ambitious.

“Whatever path you forge, venture forward with intent,” Ireland said.

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