The 111th graduating class of Loyola Academy in Wilmette included 35 residents of Evanston among the 479 students receiving their diplomas as the Class of 2021 on Saturday afternoon at Allstate Arena.
Principal Charles Heintz reflected on school in the time of COVID-19. “The ups and downs of the last 14 months have taught us that sometimes life unexpectedly hits you and knocks you down. These are the moments that take your breath away and are seared into your memory forever,” he told the graduates.
But as a Jesuit school, Heintz asked the students to carry forward lessons from St. Ignatius: Slow down and pray, stay connected, be grateful, and be active.
“You are ready for anything,” he said, “which comes your way.”
Loyola Board of Trustees Chair Nancy Paridy of Evanston and Loyola’s president, the Rev. Patrick McGrath, conferred the diplomas.
Valedictorian Isabella Lombardo told her fellow graduates that “High school isn’t just about academics. In these last four years,” she said,” we’ve gained the tools and developed the skills to move forward. .. And most importantly, we’ve learned who we are.”
Who they are is the Class of 2021.