The 119 members of the Class of 2021 graduated from William Penn Charter School on the morning of Saturday, June 12, in a socially-distanced ceremony that was also broadcast by livestream. Family, friends, faculty and staff gathered on Maguire Field, which was temporarily outfitted with a stage and two large display screens to accommodate the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Head of School Darryl J. Ford spoke to the Class of 2021’s leadership in the areas of academics, arts, athletics, service learning, and diversity, equity and inclusion. “Know that your parents and teachers are certain of your talents and potential,” he said. “We believe in you – even in these uncertain times. Pursue your own truths and passions, and believe in yourselves.”

Student speakers Zora Johnson and Daniel Rodriguez were selected by their peers and faculty members to address the assembly. 

Johnson spoke to her class’s willingness to confront the many challenges we face as a society: “As Audre Lorde said, ‘there are so many roots to the tree of anger,’ and we have seen these roots in the different forms of discrimination in our community, but the Class of 2021 has been active allies and advocates for change.”

Rodriguez mentioned the various “sparks” – of inspiration, encouragement and curiosity – that he and his classmates had experienced throughout their time together. “As we look to a future beyond Penn Charter,” he said, “I challenge each and every one of you to be that spark wherever you go, so you can ignite the best in those around you.”

Liam La Barge received the Alumni Society Senior Award, presented to a member of the senior class who on qualification of

scholarship, character, leadership and athletic ability exemplifies the best Penn Charter type. Three finalists for the award were also recognized: Kaylee Dyer, Zora Johnson and Peyton Parker.

The ceremony included a performance by Quakers Dozen, Penn Charter’s select a cappella group, and processional music played by an ensemble of student and faculty instrumentalists. Graduates concluded the morning with a celebratory lap around the track as teachers and families gathered at the perimeter to applaud.

Watch a recording of the ceremony at PennCharter.com/commencement2021, and view more photos at Flickr.com/penncharter.