In a series of ceremonies this past week, Prince William County’s more than 6,000 graduating seniors celebrated the end of a challenging last two years of high school.

Brentsville District Senior High School’s Class of 2021 was the smallest of the county’s 12 graduating classes with just 232 students. The county’s largest class belonged to Charles J. Colgan Sr. High School, which bid farewell to more than 700 seniors.

Most of the county’s graduation ceremonies took place outdoors at Jiffy Lube Live, where the graduates and their families enjoyed mask-optional celebrations that nearly seemed like a return to pre-pandemic normalcy.

But students and administrators spoke of the challenges students faced in their final two years, praising them for enduring months of mostly remote instruction that lacked many of the touchpoints that make high school most memorable.

“Although we spent the last four years counting down to graduation, I’m sad this day is finally upon us,” said Brentsville High Senior Class President Grace James. “I don’t know that any of us truly realized how special our time together in the classroom really was, and I don’t think we will ever take that time for granted again.”

Brentsville Valedictorian Kaitlyn Warner and Salutatorian Aidan Driscoll, whom Principal Katherine Meints described as “two peas in a pod,” gave a mostly light-hearted but heartfelt address, which they wrote together and delivered in alternating lines. It ended this way: 

Aidan: “I think we all can agree it’s been a really tough year.”

Kaitlyn: “But we made it through together, and it can only go up from here.”

Most of the county's high school graduation ceremonies were video-taped and live-streamed for friends and family watching from home and can be accessed on the school division's website.

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