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WATCH NOW: A&M Consolidated seniors take field for commencement ceremony

WATCH NOW: A&M Consolidated seniors take field for commencement ceremony

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A&M Consolidated High School’s graduation on Friday night bore little resemblance to commencement exercises in recent years.

“Standing here today, I do have to say that Reed Arena looks a little bit different from what I remember,” A&M Consolidated High School senior Nicolas Macri joked, speaking to an audience of his peers seated across the field at Tigerland Stadium. “They unfortunately took out the roof and air conditioning, but I am so happy to be here.”

While the new graduates didn’t exchange handshakes with the passing of diplomas and family members who came to watch were spaced evenly apart in small groups in the bleachers, about 400 students in Consol’s class of 2020 capped off a school year cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic with Friday’s ceremony. College Station ISD staff commented during the event it was the first time in recent history the group had not walked the stage at Texas A&M’s Reed Arena.

“Y’all will forever be known as the graduating class of seniors who made a sacrifice for the sake of senior citizens,” said Consol teacher Chad Cryer, who had been selected by the students to serve as commencement speaker. “Y’all will forever be known as the class of seniors who gave up a glorious end of their career in public school for the sake of people they have never met. I’m not going to sit here and pretend you got to vote on the matter, but the way you have responded has been perfect. [You were] accepting of the task before you, you have sacrificed what has been important to you.”

During the ceremony, faculty announced that the new graduates — clad in maroon caps and gowns with matching facemasks — had earned a collective $9 million in college scholarships. Senior class president Peter Ramirez announced the class’ gift would be a student resource center that will provide access to more computers and wireless printers.

Nicolas Macri, a summa cum laude graduate, addressed the student body for about 15 minutes, discussing his own trials during high school, as well as the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

He stressed the importance of his fellow students entering the world ready to be accountable for their own decisions and striving to positively impact the current climate.

“We cannot be defined by our past mistakes,” he said. “Just look at how much our country has changed within our short lifetimes. Today is June 26, 2020. Five years ago on this very day in 2015 was the first time our society said that gay people like me could get married everywhere in this county. And look how vastly different the entire world [has become] in just the past few months. ... Natural disasters like this global pandemic are not something whose existence we can control, but how we respond to them is, and how we prevent them from happening again.”

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