As the 2021 winter graduates crossed the stage and accepted their diplomas, some bumped elbows and fists, others shook hands and some just posed for a quick photo with principals Slade Turner and Matthew Blackstone.

Brunswick High School and Glynn Academy celebrated their 2021 winter graduates this week in two ceremonies, held Wednesday at BHS and Thursday at GA.

Around 50 students completed their high school education early and were honored during the events.

“It is with much pride that I congratulate our graduates this evening on their final achievement — graduation from high school,” said Turner, principal at BHS. “I’m sure that years ago when you entered high school it was hard for you to imagine what your senior year would be like and how you would be feeling at this point.”

The group of seniors have completed their high school education despite a tumultuous year of global anxieties and national unrest, noted the Rev. Craig Campbell of Zion Baptist Church in Brunswick, during his inspirational speech at Brunswick High’s event.

“You did it. Mission accomplished, even in the midst of a global pandemic,” he said. “In the midst of unrest. In the midst of violence and anger plaguing our country. We salute you. Nevertheless, today is a great day to celebrate with your teachers, loved ones, mentors, counselors, spiritual leaders, friends and pets. Brunswick High School Class of 2021, I believe this day is a day that you dreamed about since entering high school.”

But their learning should not stop here, Campbell said, and he encouraged them to take their experiences and use past lessons in future endeavors.

“This is the day of celebration and consummation of your hard work, your drive, your determination, your persistence and your perseverance,” he said. “For some of you, it’s been an uphill battle. Yes, with highs and lows, peaks and plunges, anxiety and anticipation. For some it’s been a real struggle. But you made it.”

Blackstone, principal of Glynn Academy, gave the inspirational keynote address during the school’s event. The Class of 2021 is a special one for Blackstone, who has been the principal for some of its members for the past seven years, as Glynn Academy principal and previously as principal of Glynn Middle School.

Blackstone shared some of the common attributes that highly successful individuals demonstrate, including perseverance, kindness, optimism, self-confidence and integrity.

The average person will in some way encounter around 80,000 people in his or her lifetime, Blackstone said. It’s up to each individual to determine what their impact on others will be.

“It is up to you, each of you, how you will be seen through those people’s eyes,” he said. “Guys, I am super proud of this class.”

Campbell urged the graduates to choose their own legacy.

“Graduates, you have rightfully earned your diploma,” he said. “It is your passport as you continue to advance ahead with purpose, zeal and enthusiasm. Use it well. Use it and take full advantage of what it offers.”

Glynn County Schools Superintendent Scott Spence congratulated the students at both graduations, as did several school board members, including Marcus Edgy, Hank Yeargan and Eaddy Sams.

“This evening is the culmination of a lot of hard work by students, teachers and parents,” Spence said.

Before the students moved their tassels, they were asked to turn toward the audience and face their families. The intimate space of the smaller ceremony meant that most were in easy photo-taking distance of their loved ones for that special moment.

“That’s the nice part about this graduation,” Turner said.

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