Iola High School graduation: ‘Don’t waste a single second’

Class speaker Sidney Shelby reminds her classmates of the challenges they've faced, especially this past year, and encourages them to embrace the moment at Saturday's graduation ceremony.



May 17, 2021 - 9:10 AM

The graduating class of Iola High School celebrates with the traditional cap toss. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

Iola High School’s Class of 2021 attended 662 days of school, which rounds out to more than 19 million seconds, senior Sidney Shelby told her fellow classmates at Saturday’s graduation ceremony.

“Our freshman year may be so far away but it still feels like yesterday,” she said. 

Shelby used math as a poignant tribute to the final chapter of high school, which was beset by a global health pandemic.

“You can’t take anything for granted,” she said. “You’re not guaranteed anything. Any day. Any hour, minute or second. We’ve all been given a short amount of time in this world.”

She reminded her classmates of that moment in March 2020 when “when we went on spring break and we just didn’t come back.” That was when they learned all in-person classes would be canceled for the remainder of the year. 

Iola High School Class of 2021 valedictorians.Photo by Vickie Moss
Salutatorians Joshua Kaufman and Adrianne Reynolds.Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register
Iola Rotary Club, represented by Dan Davis, awarded a watch to Audrey Coltrane.Photo by Vickie Moss

The year that followed was filled with challenges that became learning experiences. She encouraged her classmates to remember and cherish every moment.

“Don’t waste a single second. Once that second is gone, you’ll never get it back.”

Iola High School’s Class of 2021 graduated Saturday in the gymnasium, after rain forced a change of location from the football stadium. Class speakers reflected on a year marked by a global health pandemic. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

THE IHS graduation ceremony was moved to the gymnasium, where it traditionally has been located. Last year, though, the event was delayed and moved outdoors to the football stadium because of the pandemic.

The outdoor location proved popular with students and families, so administrators planned to use the stadium again this year. A soggy Saturday put a damper on those plans.

DURING the ceremony, several awards were presented.

They included valedictorian honors to Lorie Carpenter, Audrey Coltrane, Jada Cunningham, Hannah Gardner, Levi Meiwes, Sidney Shelby, Dillon Slaven and Jessica Tidd.

Salutatorian honors were given to Joshua Kaufman and Adrianne Reynolds.

Audrey Coltrane won the Rotary club’s annual award of a watch, given to the student with the highest GPA and highest ACT score.

School board president Dan Willis presents a diploma to senior Levi Meiwes.Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register
Rebecca Sprague accepts congratulations.Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register
Jessica Tidd
Grace Garner
Tabitha Graham