On May 27, Leander ISD hosted its first Class of 2021 graduation with Vandegrift High School at 8 a.m. at Gupton Stadium.
Charlie Little, VHS principal, shared how far this class has come during the global pandemic in his graduation ceremony speech.
It is my honor to officially present the Class of 2021. As the tenth senior class in VHS history, you have had the distinct opportunity to maintain the traditions of this school, even during the challenges of an epic pandemic that profoundly altered both your junior and senior year experience. From our school song to the Second to None Awards, we found a way to continue to thread the spirit of Matthew into the very fabric of our school. You have helped create this legacy through your grace and perseverance, and you have defined the standard and traditions for all future Vandegrift classes. Other classes will follow, but you have truly led during a true time of adversity.
Parents, and staff…. Thank you for your partnership with Vandegrift…your unwavering support and commitment to our school is the envy of school districts everywhere.
Also, I want to share my appreciation for the hard work of our five elementary and two middle school campuses. This afternoon, we are joined by CRMS Principal, Wendy Sturdevant, and Four Points Middle School, Steve Crawford. I want to thank both of them and their staffs and all of our feeder schools for their hard work. The excellence of our graduates does not happen by accident, but the efforts of an entire school community. Without the hard work of their staff and teachers, today would not be possible.
Believe me when I say that when these students step off this stage the Class of 2021 CAN and WILL do great things and make our world a better place.
Even with an abbreviated year, the 671 students sitting before us have achieved unprecedented success in academics, fine arts, community service, and athletics and leadership Let me share some statistics for this extraordinary group of seniors and see if you don’t agree.
Graduates, if you could please stand if any of these statistics apply to you.
Please stand if you:
· Participated on an athletic team, or as an individual and advanced to playoffs, or extended your season to regionals or state.
Also, please stand if you participated in UIL Academics Robotics, Destination Imagination or Fine Arts Band/Choir program that advanced to, regional area or state or national or world competition OR, if you are in cheer or dance and competed in an invitational at the area, State or national level.
Please also stand if your season was preemptively cut short by COVID-19, and you didn’t get to participate in your program or event? Please know that our hearts go out to you, and we are proud of all of the work you put in to prepare to perform at the highest level. Although you may not have been able to compete, the friendships and hard work will not have gone in vain, and you will always have the memories of your time at VHS.
Through the Dual Credit program, graduates have already earned 3,820 college credit hours through the Austin Community College, saving their families:
● Over $1.5 million in estimated tuition and fees for in-state, public institutions
● Or practically $4 million in tuition and fees for out-of-state public institutions…
● Another interesting note which could mix it up: this many credit hours is the equivalent of 127 students fully completing their initial freshmen year of 30 credit hours.
Seniors, please stand if you took an Advanced Placement Exam this year.
If you are counting, that is approximately 365 students who took 1,140 AP Exams! 40.8% of the senior class took at least one or more AP exams which is about 3.12 exams per student! In the course of their 4 years at Vandegrift, these seniors have taken a total of 2,544 AP Exams for potential college credit.
Out of this group of seniors, 130 students were acknowledged by the National Merit Corporation this school year. 26 of our students are National Merit Finalists, 11 students were National Merit Hispanic Finalists, 1 student is a National Indigenous Scholar, 42 students are National Merit Commended Scholars and 50 recognized scholars.
And finally, I would like to Congratulate the first cohort of International Baccalaureate Diploma graduates at Vandegrift high school. During this unique time 41 candidates submitted 100% of all IB requirements.
All candidates have been accepted to the University of their choice, many with financial awards due to their high level of achievement. Students have accepted offers into both honors and international programs.
All of these seniors are the embodiment of excellence, juggling the rigors or extracurricular and academic life. As a community, we gather here today to celebrate them, the class of 2021.
How about another round of applause for this extraordinary class.