“Congratulations Class of 2021, you did it!”

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The world can throw challenges at you, like the global pandemic we have all lived through for the past year and a half – but “only you are in control of the future you want to have.”

That was the message last week in a special virtual ceremony for this year’s graduating students of Mackenzie Community School from Renfrew County’s own two-time Olympic athlete Melissa Bishop.

Bishop is from Eganville and has competed in the women’s 800m run in the past two Olympic Games. She has also qualified for the Canadian team at this year’s Tokyo Games.

Bishop was one of two special guest speakers at Mackenzie’s virtual “Class of 2021” graduation last week, the second year the school has had to hold a virtual ceremony due to COVID-19.

A total of 55 students received their Ontario Secondary School Diplomas this year, with future plans ranging from working full-time towards opening a kennel, to returning to Mackenzie to further studies, to taking computer sciences at Harvard University.

Bishop said the virtual grad may feel like “just another day, another session in front of a screen.”

“But don’t let it,” she urged the grads.

“This is a moment to be celebrated, this is a moment to be joyous.

“We have so few moments left to celebrate (during COVID) that this is a really big deal,” she said.

“Enjoy this rite of passage. You have your high school diploma now. Enjoy it with the people you love and who have helped get you to this point.”

  • For the full story, and complete coverage of this year’s grads, including the full list of award winners, pick up a copy of this week’s NRT. To get the NRT delivered directly to your mail box or inbox each week, subscribe here.