Santa Catalina School held its 69th annual Commencement on May 29 with all traditions intact. Wearing white gowns and facing a crowd of loved ones in Sullivan Court, the Class of 2021 joyfully tossed red rose petals into the air, celebrating the end of high school and closing the book on an unusual year.
The event was live streamed for the first time, reaching students, faculty, and families who were unable to attend in person. Also for the first time, Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement were combined into one ceremony.
Keynote speaker Kai Romero '01, a doctor in emergency medicine and palliative care, gave a stirring speech about the lessons she took away from Catalina about expanding her worldview, finding her way to a life of service, and recognizing when she's on hallowed ground. "It is not uncommon to feel lost and untethered when you are figuring your way out in the world," she said. "What Catalina taught me was to keep putting stakes in the ground with the confidence they would eventually mean something. ... I hope that the Santa Catalina community will be for you, as it has been for me, a way of coming home."
Kai also praised the graduates for their response to the COVID-19 crisis: "Over this past year and a half, the instinct to turn outward, to care and hold one another from afar as you have navigated this—that is not a lesson you will unlearn. For all of the many things you have been denied by this awful time, you have also been given the gift of witnessing your own extraordinary response. The feelings you had this year—when everything was dark, and sad, and hard, and you kept waking up, putting one foot in front of the other, and caring for those around you—that is what bravery looks like."
To see photos from before, during, and after the ceremony, view our galleries on SmugMug.