Those attending the Academy of Holy Angels' commencement Sunday, June 6, were quick to find the shade provided by the large trees in the school's front grassy area. The temperature during the program was in the mid-90s.

Sans masks and social distancing, graduates, families and friends celebrate together

Following a year of COVID-19 and not being able to hold commencement, 2021 Academy of Holy Angels graduating seniors, families and friends gathered June 6 to celebrate their milestone.

In front of the iconic school building in Richfield, finding a shady spot on a mid-90-degree day wasn’t easy for many. But that didn’t matter. Being together to celebrate ruled the day.

Close to 150 seniors made the slow walk, two-by-two, to their places during the processional as a recording of a Minnesota Orchestra performance of “Pomp and Circumstance, March No.1,” played.


Madeleine L. was elected by her 2021 Academy of Holy Angels classmates to deliver the student commencement address, one filled with humor and hope. (Per school policy, only first names and last name initials are released for publication)

Senior Margaret Laux provided the welcome, followed by the invocation by Thomas E. Shipley, school president.

Elected by her classmates to deliver the student commencement address, Madeleine Luskey provided an uplifting, funny and poignant message about overcoming adversity and hopes for the future.


Makae B. pauses for a photograph after receiving her high school diploma during the 90th commencement at the Academy of Holy Angels on Sunday, June 6.

Following the presentation of diplomas, with seniors’ names announced and punctuated by the excited shouts of families, all students sat silently through the Benediction by Rev. Michael Tix, chaplain, and quietly followed the bagpiped recessional provided by 2018 AHA graduate Thomas Stonehouse, taking their walk up the steps of the school building one last time an onto the lawn where families waited with cameras poised.


Fighting the wind and feeling good about reaching the important milestone of graduating high school, Keelie P. takes the walk back to her chair during the Sunday, June 6, commencement exercises held at the Academy of Holy Angels.


Rollin R. reaches for a handshake from Academy of Holy Angels President Thomas E. Shipley as the 2021 senior accepts his diploma during commencement Sunday, June 6.


Nick R. was all smiles as he accepts his Academy of Holy Angels High School diploma during the school’s 90th commencement Sunday, June 6, in Richfield.


This happy moment was not lost on Academy of Holy Angels senior Ava R. as she accepts her high school diploma during the Sunday, June

6, commencement at the Richfield Catholic school.


Calista C. and Michael C., seniors at Academy of Holy Angels, watch as their classmates make their entrance during the commencement processional at the Richfield Catholic school Sunday, June 6.


Academy of Holy Angels Assistant Principal Mark Melhorn reads the names of each of the senior graduates at the Catholic school's Sunday, June 6, commencement. 

AHA diploma

Nearly 150 Academy of Holy Angels seniors received their high school diploma at the commencement held Sunday, June 6.

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