DETROIT — Detroit High School graduated all 39 students of the Class of 2021 at the Detroit High School gymnasium Friday night. 97% of the class has been classified as college or career ready by the State of Texas.

Of those who graduated, 12 will graduate as certified welders, 11 as certified floral designers and landscape designers, seven as certified nurses, 14 will have at least 12 hours of college and 10 will graduate with college preparatory classes in English and math. Many will go into college as sophomores.

In the State of Texas, only 60% to 65% of students graduate from high school as college or career ready, making Detroit’s high outcomes all the more impressive.

“So, I say all that to tell you guys sitting in front of me, I’m proud of you. It could have gone the other way. We could have said Covid-19 and pandemic and thrown all these fancy words out and been scared to death and not done what we did, but we did it, and I love each and every one of you like my own kids, and I’m proud of you,” Principal Jonathan Lloyd told the Class of 2021.

Every year the graduating students vote on a guest speaker for the ceremony, and this year they chose Elizabeth Henderson, a CTE director, FCCLA advisor and teacher for Detroit ISD.

“Legacy is not something that you leave for people, it’s something that you leave in people. It’s planting seeds in a garden that you may never get to see. To quote Rascal Flatts, ‘It’s how they remember you. Did you stand or did you fall? Build a bridge or build a wall?’” Henderson said.

Following Henderson’s address, the top 10 students were acknowledged, including Garret Lloyd and Shelby Eudy, the valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.

“Being valedictorian is a huge honor, but this honor came along with repercussions from stress to missing social events because of finals for class. These people are the ones that kept me going and kept me strong throughout these four years — my friends, my siblings and my lovely parents up here tonight. They’re the ones that helped me achieve great things,” Lloyd said in his address. He also thanked his grandfather.

“To the Class of 2021, thank you for the best two and a half years of high school. Since leaving my previous school, y’all have welcomed me with open arms, treating me as one of y’alls own and showed me what real family’s supposed to look like. As we take on the next chapter of our life, remember one quote, ‘Challenges are what makes life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful,’” Eudy said.

Following the speeches, the soon-to-be graduates participated in the traditional Rose Ceremony, where they presented roses to those who had made a great difference in their life, including parents and other family members. Following the ceremony, they returned to their seats and prepared to receive their diplomas.

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