Seniors at West Salem High School participate in graduation ceremonies on Thursday, June 10. Last year, high school graduation ceremonies were modified and delayed until August because of the pandemic. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)
Almost 2,800 seniors in the Salem-Keizer School District graduated over the past week. This year's class of seniors saw a truncated junior year and a senior year largely online and with limited social interaction. Despite the challenges, many made strides pursuing passions and supporting classmates.
Salem Reporter interviewed a graduating senior or group from each Salem high school to give a snapshot of this year's class. Here are their stories.
Career Technical Education Center
Rezi Galvan, Max Johnson, Michael Glaspey, Jay Tellez Hernandez, Kaleb Lindon, Caleb Fowler and Logan Gould - Seniors pay tribute to a year of resilience with award-winning video game design
A team of seniors designed a video game, “Somebody,” that explores one girl’s journey through her own subconscious as she tries to recover lost memories. The prototype took home the best theme and story award at the Oregon Game Project Challenge.
Caleb Fowler, a video game design and animation student at the Salem-Keizer Career Technical Education Center, instructs Superintendent Christy Perry as she plays "Somebody," a prototype game a team of seniors built (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)
McKay High School
Lesly Rojas - Budding engineer looks to technology to help others
Lesly Rojas has worked with classmates to design multiple award-winning inventions aimed at helping agricultural workers and people with disabilities. Her work has brought in thousands of dollars in prize money for McKay’s engineering programs.
Lesly Rojas, McKay High School Class of 2021 (Courtesy photo)
North Salem High School
During a year of disruptions to school, Monserrat Hernandez Escobar has been a steady leader for her peers and teachers at North Salem High School. She gathered student input and advised school officials on returning to the classroom.
Monserrat Hernandez Escobar (Courtesy photo)
South Salem High School
Annie Flood has been a member of the U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball team since her sophomore year at South Salem High School. The switch to online school during Covid let her spend more of her senior year training in hopes of bringing home gold in Tokyo this summer.
Annie Flood of South Salem High School competes in sitting soccer and hopes to make it to the Tokyo Paralympic Games. (Brandon Snider photo)
Sprague High School
Mei Tate said the Covid shutdown helped her find time to reconnect with art and do more creative projects. She won Sprague High School’s outstanding senior award from the art department and plans to study neuroscience in college.
Mei Tate, a graduating senior at Sprague High School, poses for a photo on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)
Roberts High School - Teen Parent Program
As a high school freshman, Sara Miranda returned to school with her newborn daughter in tow to finish her finals, passing every class. That dedication helped her get back on track to graduate on time after almost a year not attending school regularly during the pandemic.
Sara Miranda sits with daughter Katalina Miranda Hernandez outside of the Roberts Teen Parent Program on Friday, May 28, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)
West Salem High School
Anthony Broncheau - Senior turns passion for business into suicide prevention
Anthony Broncheau went from a timid freshman to a pillar of West Salem High School’s business program, running the student store and working at the credit union. His own struggles with mental health inspired him to start a small clothing company that he said has helped classmates open up.
Anthony Broncheau, a graduating senior at West Salem High School poses for a photo on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)
JUST THE FACTS, FOR SALEM - We report on your community with care and depth, fairness and accuracy. Get local news that matters to you. Subscribe to Salem Reporter starting at $5 a month. Click I want to subscribe!