Catawba Ridge’s Class of 2021 Becomes the First to Graduate from the High School




FORT MILL, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – The three high schools in Fort Mill all holding commencement ceremonies at the same time at their schools. Students graduating from Catawba Ridge are the first in the school’s history to walk across the stage.  Students say it’s a first step they are honored to take.

These Catawba Ridge High School graduates know how to look at the glass half full.

Catawba Ridge’s first graduating class looking back on accomplishments and obstacles faced, getting them to this point. From leaving their respective schools in the middle of their high school years to attend a new school, to navigating the COVID pandemic they say they aren’t afraid to adapt.

Catawba Ridge’s Class President, Charles Kowalski, says, “It’s been amazing we’ve had a lot of opportunities to shape the school how we want, and create a welcoming and inclusive environments, and open opportunities to all the students after us.”

Forging their own traditions like painted parking spots or tradition Tuesday which brings students together made their experience that much more memorable.

“I hope they just take the passion and determination that it’s taken to come into a new school and start new things and take that into their life and have that same energy with whatever they do in the future,” says Kowalski.

As these 262 graduates embark on their new beginnings they say that they’ll always remember the new traditions they started at Catawba Ridge high school.

This first classes valedictorian Gerardo Berlanga, says, “I’m very thankful that I got to be part of this class, to go through school with them especially this past year with the pandemic and everything. Another thing is that I want them to be happy, I want them to grow and become better people as we move forward and I just want them to have fun.”

Berlanga says he hopes his classmates learn how to lead sustainable lives not necessarily going green but remembering that happiness is the most valuable resource to hold onto.

“I want them to never give up on their dreams, I want them to keep trying, keep pushing,” says Berlanga.

In the video, CN2’s Rachel Richardson is speaking with students about their traditions of firsts at the school.

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