In-person MPS graduation for Class of 2021

It was a moment they've been waiting for. Emotions were high as hundreds of Milwaukee Public Schools students ended a historic school year with graduation ceremonies June 1.The first graduating class of 2021 got their diplomas in-person after spending nearly the entire year separated and virtual learning.

As the pomp and circumstance began, students at Milwaukee Marshall High School reminisced on how they got to this point.

"I worked hard," said Tyra Wilson. "I studied. I listened to the teachers. I applied it."

The Class of 2021 learned a lot over the years, including perseverance during virtual learning in a pandemic.

"It was a long journey, but as a team, as Marshall High School we pulled through," said an instructor.

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Determination got students like Tyra Wilson, valedictorian, prepared for graduation and the future.

"I maintained a 4.0 GPA from freshman year to senior year," she said. "I’m going to be a lawyer."

Graduates walked through the UWM Panther Arena, achieving a goal for themselves and family.

"Besides my brother, I’m the first one to go to college," said one graduate. "That’s a big success."

Greeted by cheers, they said being here in person meant so much.

"The energy around everybody," said one graduate. "That’s what it’s all about. This is a great day, is a very good experience of my classmates."

Finally crossing the stage before turning their tassels, the Class of 2021 celebrated together, met outside by proud loved ones.

"It feels good for the family and friends to be out here," said one graduate.

"This is great," said one father. "He worked real hard for this, especially through this pandemic. That was an obstacle for everybody, but he held his own. He did great. We proud of him. Let’s go."

This was just the beginning of the excitement. There will be 24 ceremonies at the Panther Arena and North and South Division High Schools until Friday.