Brentwood High School's James C. Parker Stadium was filled with hundreds of parents and students Saturday morning all celebrating the same thing: the graduating class of 2021, the 39th such class since the school's inception.
While the class of 2020 saw the tail-end of their senior years thrown into chaos, it was the class of 2021 that endured a global pandemic for the entirety of their senior year.
Graduating students Marvin "MJ" Brown and Avery Burns managed to find the humor in the unprecedented school year they had just completed, and noted during their combined speech some of the oddities that had sprung up over the past nine months.
"This year has been a year like no other at Brentwood High School; crazy, complicated and contagious, just like our graduating class," Brown said. "We would like to start by thanking some of the things that made this year extra special; thank you to Zoom for allowing us to stay in our pajamas much longer than any of our parents would have liked."
"Thank you quarantine for giving us a nice two-week break when we thought we were at our breaking point," Burns said.
"Thank you Tennessee Health Department for informing us that we have been exposed to COVID," Brown said, "ten days after our date of exposure."
"And thank you contact tracing for making people friends and enemies," Burns added.
"But in all seriousness, we truly appreciate the patience of our teachers for navigating online learning, and our classmates who may or may not have stayed in their beds to do their school work," Brown said.
"Going through senior year is hard enough - adding a global pandemic makes it almost impossible, but the class of 2021 is a one like no other. We are stronger and more resilient than these obstacles."