McDonogh 35 celebrates Class of 2021

McDonogh 35 celebrates Class of 2021
Posted on 05/04/2021

“Today brings me a lot of joy. I want all of our seniors, our faculty, and our families to recognize that today is not a COVID graduation. Today is the day 116 wonderful, beautiful, empowered scholars graduate as part of the 103rd commencement of McDonogh 35,” InspireNOLA CEO Jamar McKneely said as he addressed the Class of 2021 during their graduation ceremony May 4 at the Ponchartrain Center.

Though they spent part of the year separated from some of their classmates because of the pandemic, the class was once again unified for their in-person graduation. 

“COVID-19 has changed how we currently view the world,” said Salutatorian Amani Pittman. “It has been an incredible journey that prepared us for the future. I am filled with excitement as we embark on the next phase of our lives.” 

Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis reminded he class that today they will be joining a nation of Roneagle alumni across the world.

“Remember to be bold, be courageous, and be your best,” he said. “Wherever you go in this world, go with all your heart. If opportunity doesn’t knock, Roneagles, I tell you to build a door because you are well prepared for your future.”

Laci Blondell, McDonogh 35 Assistant Principal, reminded students to believe in themselves and their ability to succeed.

“You are greatness and will continue to produce greatness,” she said. “Your opportunity to share your greatness is now, and I know you will. Your futures begin today.”

Valedictorian Torrance Taylor told her peers they were here today to celebrate their victories and achievements as a class. 

“Today we stand as graduates of McDonogh 35. Tomorrow we will embark on new beginnings,” she said. “As this chapter comes to a close, we all have our own book of life that has not been written. As a graduate of McDonogh 35, we have been given all the paper and ink needed to write our legacies. Go forth and be great.”

McDonogh 35 Class of 2001 alumnus and State Representative Jason Wynn Hughs told graduates that the final words he heard as a student at McDonogh 35 was it’s never too late to make a new beginning. 

“Commencement means to begin. The question I pose to you is what will you do with your new beginning?” he asked students. “Never give up. When people tell you something cannot be accomplished, remember you are Roneagle and you will soar.” 
McKneely added that though this was a hard year, each of the graduates persevered and made it to this day.

“When you walk across this stage, it’s the start of your journey,” he said. “As a Roneagle, you’re strong, powerful, and wonderful. You don’t soar low; you always soar high.”