Seniors at Robbinsdale Cooper High School are set to graduate 6 p.m. Thursday, June 10, at Barb Lehman stadium. It’s the first time an in-person commencement ceremony will take place at the school since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The Sun Post caught up with four Cooper seniors to talk about their experiences, proudest moments and their next steps.

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Henry Suah

Henry Suah, Crystal

Involvements: Soccer, National Honor Society, Crystal Cub Foods employee.

What is something you did in your high school career that people might be interested to hear about?

Joining the National Honor Society was one of the best things I did during my high school career because it forced me out of my comfort zone. In NHS, I was able to volunteer and give back to my community.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve gotten about graduating/getting older in general?

A friend of mine, Cyrus Jarjay, once told me that “self-motivation and determination is the key to success.” I find it valuable because if you’re not pushing yourself every day to go above and beyond, if you’re not pushing yourself to your limits, you’ll never be successful in whatever you want to do in life.

The pandemic was tough on everyone in some way. How were you challenged during the pandemic?

I was challenged in many ways during the pandemic however, school was the worst. Waking up every morning just to sit on the computer was tormenting due to a lack of motivation. I convinced myself that there was no point in doing school work.

Later, I had an amazing conversation with a friend about self-motivation. After the conversation, I realized that I needed to get myself together and find the motivation within me because my future depended on it.

What will you miss the most about school?

I will most definitely miss the relationships I’ve built with some teachers and my fellow students.

“The first thing I’m going to do after graduating is ...”

Party! Because my hard work, late-night studies and early mornings has paid off.

What’s next for you?

I’ll be attending Indiana University-Bloomington. I got a direct admit into the Kelley School of Business; there I’ll study marketing and management.

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Zoe Hollander

Zoe Hollander, Robbinsdale

Involvements: I did a lot over the past four years – frankly too much! I’ve been in all nine shows at Cooper since my freshman year, plus a One Act play. I’ve also been a member of the Long Form improv troupe since ninth grade and became a captain last year. Additionally, I joined the student council my freshman year and have held multiple leadership positions, including co-vice president this year.

What is something you did in your high school career that people might be interested to hear about?

During my sophomore year, I was involved in Bella Voce, the winter musical, improv, and the One Act play in addition to my AP/honors classes. Between all of my activities and schoolwork, there were several days where I would be at school from 6:20 a.m. until nearly 10 p.m. I don’t suggest such a schedule to any incoming high schoolers or underclassmen.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve gotten about graduating/getting older in general?

My best friend told me to enjoy the time I have left in high school, but know that I have so many more amazing experiences to look forward to. Life is short and you never know what could happen, so live in the present instead of worrying too much about the future.

The pandemic was tough on everyone in some way. How were you challenged during the pandemic?

Like many, I felt rather isolated during the pandemic and I really missed my friends. The past year was also very tough for me personally, as I had a death in the family and experienced a traumatic car accident. Truly, it felt at times like the universe was slapping me in the face a bit. However, life moves on and so do we. I challenged myself to live in the present and enjoy the things and people in my life and thus I found myself happier in my day-to-day routine.

What will you miss the most about school?

I will miss my friends most of all, as well as some of my teachers. I hope to stay in contact with most of them, but I know that it’s natural for people to go their separate ways after high school.

“The first thing I’m going to do after graduating is ...”

Probably cry a bit. All jokes aside, I plan to at least get a celebratory coffee with some friends.

What’s next for you?

I will be attending The University of the Arts in Philadelphia next fall to pursue a BFA in musical theater. I’m absolutely thrilled to be studying my passion for the next four years and can’t wait for the next chapter.

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Andrea Tribble

Andrea Tribble, Brooklyn Park

Involvements: National Honor Society, President; Basketball, Link Crew.

What is something you did in your high school career that people might be interested to hear about?

I organized a blessing bag drive where I collected essential resources and distributed them amongst those experiencing homelessness in Minneapolis.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve gotten about graduating/getting older in general?

To always be passionate about what I’m doing. I got this advice from my parents: “If you love what you do and are passionate about it, you’ll never truly work a day in your life.” This is so valuable to me because wherever life takes me, I know it will involve me doing work that leaves a meaningful impact on something larger than myself in a powerful way.

The pandemic was tough on everyone in some way. How were you challenged during the pandemic?

I am a person who values connections. So, having that connection gone for such a lengthy period of time was hard for me. I adapted by channeling my energy in creative ways and figuring out how to connect with those I love in a safe way.

What will you miss the most about school?

All of the personal connections I have made with my teachers and those in my graduating class.

“The first thing I’m going to do after graduating is ...”

Turn off all of my alarms!

What’s next for you?

I will attend Seward County College on a basketball scholarship. I will major in political science on a pre-law track in pursuit of my aspiration to become a public interest attorney.

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Cyrus Jarjay

Cyrus Jarjay, New Hope

Involvements: I played for the boys varsity soccer team since freshman year, debated in the debate club and I volunteered for many events such as the blood drive for the National Honor Society.

What is something you did in your high school career that people might be interested to hear about?

During my high school career, one of my most meaningful accomplishments was winning a grant for my school’s student council with my poetry. At a council-organized walk-out to honor Daunte Wright, I performed a poem. Weeks later, the student council asked me to accompany them in a competition hosted by “Multiplying Good,” consisting of schools presenting their recent attempts to advance their community. Cooper’s presentation stood out and, on top of that, my poem was the secret weapon that helped win the competition’s grant, a resource that can advance my school well beyond my final year.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve gotten about graduating/getting older in general?

I am a product of my reaction to what I am told I cannot control. The paraphrased saying has become a way of life for me, and its origin is the word of God (The Bible). This (one could say) mantra compels me to push for change within, in order to help change a world without equality and freedom.

The pandemic was tough on everyone in some way. How were you challenged during the pandemic?

The pandemic challenged me to tap into my potential as a result of the seemingly endless time I had to myself. Instead of moving on to the 10th season of The Walking Dead series, I decided to get a head start and study the finance course on Kahn Academy, to read one new book every two weeks, and to create a plan to make my hobbies substantially more lucrative: photography, videography, contributing to social justice and poetry/ghostwriting.

What will you miss the most about school?

I believe that I will miss the diversity of my school the most. However, as a result of that comforting environment, I feel prepared to take on a PWI (predominately white institution).

“The first thing I’m going to do after graduating is ...”

Lying on my bed and reminiscing on my four years, and possibly journaling about those years so I can look back on them during times of struggle in college.

What’s next for you?

I will attend the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management to major in finance; I want to help Black people, Africans and the minoritized (all of those in my community) to make fewer financial mistakes. During my time studying, I will also pursue my hobbies: photography, videography, contributing to social justice and poetry/ghostwriting.

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