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Local students make family history during graduation

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Posted at 9:48 PM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 05:19:12-04

WYOMING, Mich. — It was a big day for some local high school seniors who now have their diplomas.

A couple of them even made family history.

“Really proud of our students for overcoming the challenges that they faced this year,” said Kevin Polston, Godfrey-Lee Public Schools Superintendent.

It was a pretty tough year for students and teachers there in Wyoming.

They had to switch from in-person to remote learning and back to the classroom all before graduation.

Polston says the quarantine and uncertainty during the year became a challenge for the kids.

“The resiliency they demonstrated will be with them long after their time here, and it’s something that we all came together and rallied around each other to support each other as a community,” said Polston.

Students gathered Thursday night right on the field to celebrate. They were all required to wear masks and practice social distancing.

“Tough but we got through it,” said Elsy Bonilla.

She didn’t think this moment would come considering the crazy year. Her class environments changed, the dynamic changed, and she said it’s hard for students who really didn’t get to see their friends.

“I didn’t really get to get this whole senior experience,” said Bonilla. “But even the situation that we are in, the school and staff really did all they could to make this the best year.”

Bonilla, like other students, plans to work this summer and save up for college.

She’s attending NYU in the fall, heading to Italy for a bit, and plans to study journalism.

Bonilla is the youngest in her family to graduate, one of the top 10 in her class, and is also on the student council.

“They worked so hard to put prom together, homecoming together, even our graduation together,” she said. “So, a huge shoutout to all those who made it possible and to all my friends for supporting me along this way.”

“I’ve done what I could to make the most out of it,” said Alan Maya.

He didn’t get to experience the things he wanted to his senior year. But graduation day is what he waited for.

He, too, plans to work all summer and then attend Ferris State University to pursue a degree in criminal justice.

“I’m actually planning on being on the police force,” said Maya. “I’m still deciding on where, but I’m thinking I want to stay here in Grand Rapids or Wyoming.”

Maya is the first in his family to graduate.

“It definitely feels good to lead and to be the example for my brothers and to be the accomplishment that my parents are proud of,” he said.

And the parents on the field along with those celebrating at home were proud.

Roughly 150 students from Lee High School and the East Lee campus received their diplomas.

Each graduate was able to have four tickets for their family to attend the celebration.

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