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Bridgeport seniors get colorful sendoff

The Bridgeport High School Class of 2021 had a colorful way to count down the days until graduation. The annual Senior Sendoff was held Monday and featured a breakfast of donuts, a walk through the hallowed halls of the elementary, middle and high school buildings to the applause of underclassmen and music by the BHS Marching Band and finally a color celebration inspired by the Indian Holi, or a festival to celebrate newness. Seniors gathered outside the school and tossed a veritable rainbow of powder into the air to mark their transition. Fifty-six members will receive diplomas on May 25 at 7 p.m. and tickets are limited.

BRIDGEPORT — Bridgeport High School seniors received a colorful sendoff Monday following a year fraught with COVID, quarantines and a brief spate of remote learning.

Members of the Class of 2021 wound down their final days with a celebration of doughnuts, a walk through the hallowed halls of their soon-to-be alma mater and a cloud of rainbow-hued powder in what has truly been a time of challenges. Fifty-six seniors will receive their diplomas during commencement exercises at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the high school cafetorium; limited tickets are available.

For the seniors, it was an enormous sense of relief and a chance to begin the next chapter of their lives.

“I feel excited and I could cry I’m so happy,” said Solara Pasztor, who was teary-eyed but joyful. “I feel like we’ve all grown up. I thought we were never going to get back to school (because of the pandemic) and it was a hard transition, but we all made it.”

As for what’s ahead, she said her college choice was undecided but she hoped to study radiology.

Cooper Dulesky concurred that it was a challenging year, but he was more than ready to begin anew as he plans to study engineering this fall at Ohio University.

“I’m happy and excited to move on,” Dulesky added. “I’m glad it’s finally over and can go on to college.”

He noted that it was great to be together with his classmates as their time at Bridgeport drew to a close.

“It was fun to see the family we formed together one last time with the senior walk.”

Seniors wound their way through the corridors where they were greeted with applause from elementary, middle and high school underclassmen and the school fight song performed by the BHS Marching Band. But the real fun began outdoors as they gathered on the basketball courts and literally marked the occasion by tossing a rainbow of colored powder into the air. BHS guidance counselor Vicki Falcone based it on the Festival of Colors event she attended at the Palace of Gold in Moundsville and the school’s version been held for three years.

“It was inspired by the Indian Holi Festival, which is conducted each spring to celebrate newness. We had released balloons in the past and I was looking for new ideas,” she explained. “I had been to the Hare Krishna event and really enjoyed it, so we began doing it here.”

The group sang the words of their alma mater and counted down before releasing the powder and dousing themselves with a kaleidoscope of colors.

BHS Principal Tom Daley said it was a wonderful way to end the year.

“It’s a relief because of everything we had to prepare for this year,” Daley said. “It’s nice to see it come to a happy conclusion.”

Superintendent Brent Ripley was proud of what the students have achieved during the tumultuous term and said they will always be an integral part of Bridgeport’s tapestry.

“This morning was a great display of the family atmosphere we have at Bridgeport,” Ripley commented. “It was good for our seniors to participate with the support of their fellow students, faculty and administration. We’re truly grateful for the impact they’ve made during their time here and they will be greatly missed.”

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