BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (WTVF) — School districts across our area are holding graduation ceremonies this weekend. They're always special occasions, but perhaps even more so this year, considering what the Class of 2021 had to endure.
Between the soaring music, parents packed in the stands, nervous students giving speeches and the occasional blast of an air horn, Brentwood High School's 2021 graduation ceremony almost felt... ordinary.
Thats pretty remarkable considering how extraordinarily different this school year was for graduating seniors. "This year has been a year like no other at Brentwood High School -- crazy, complicated and contagious - just like our graduating class," joked MJ Brown, the Class of 2021's Treasurer and a speaker at commencement.
For some students, this was their first trip back on campus after a year of online learning. "That the structure and constancy of high school came crumbling down in the blink of an eye," said Tyler Myers, one of BHS's valedictorians.
Other students likely dealt with pain and suffering in between homework and exams. "I know many of you lost someone you knew or someone you cared about and I am incredibly sorry," said Myers during his speech.
Which is why, no matter someone's grades, all 403 Brentwood High seniors walked across the stage with a degree of resiliency. "Keep chasing your dreams and keep up the hard work," said Emma Mostello, a graduating senior.
Marvin Brown was so proud of his son, he wanted to make sure everyone knew it. So he held up a giant sign with a picture of his son MJ, revealing that he's heading next to Washington University in St. Louis. "A little fun but it embarrasses the kid a little bit which makes it even better," Marvin said.
Brown says his son asked him to take the sign down, which as a proud father, only encouraged him to hold it up higher and in in the background of MJ's interview with NewsChannel 5.
Deep down, MJ is just as proud of himself. "Sticking through it and sticking to your values and your morals through it all is really what motivated me," he said.