The perception was the reality Saturday morning on the turf of Pony Lewis Field.
Even if Lillian Barratt had to think about it for a minute.
“It’s pretty unreal,” the Morgantown High School senior said with a laugh, as she readied for the Class of 2021 ceremonies to begin on the cloudy day.
“I guess I’m still processing everything,” she said. “It is good to be here at this point.”
That’s because sitting in her row, in her cap and gown, was one moment of normalcy after a junior year – and senior year, too – that was anything but, she said.
Come fall, the student will be on the campus of WVU, where she’ll pursue a business degree and quite possibly, dental hygienist training.
The business of being a student in the unprecedented midst of a pandemic, she said, was something best taken in small nibbles.
Last spring’s coronavirus exile of all-remote learning, for example, she said.
“For me, it was very odd,” she said. “It was being on an extended vacation, only with work you still had to turn in.”
With all that, she said, she still appreciated Saturday’s ceremony.
She appreciated the little things of looking up in the bleacher seats at the moms and dads and other guests who came out.
Lilli Criser, her fellow senior, and class historian, said the same from the podium, with her poem, “Life in the Little Things,” which she penned for the occasion.
“And when you look back,” so went the poem, “remember the little things.”
“The ones that made you happy, for you’ve never known strings.”
The coronavirus has a way of making little smatterings of normalcy seem like big, major happenings, Principal Paul Mihalko said.
As he watched the seniors finding their seats on the field, he said the pandemic already had too many things attached.
While he wants the graduates to look ahead, he also wants them keeping an eye on the moment at hand.
Last year, he couldn’t help but remember, no one was sure there would even be a commencement ceremony.
Then, when it did happen in the last week of June, it rained.
On Saturday morning, skies were cloudy, but the precipitation chose not to participate.
In the meantime, a good 400 of the school’s 427 graduating seniors did choose to participate.
Getting there wasn’t easy, their principal reminded them.
“We are here today to celebrate what you were able to accomplish,” he said.
Daniel Arthurs said he’ll never take his Morgantown High experience for granted.
Of course, he’ll celebrate the little moments, said the senior, who wants to study business and sports management at WVU.
That’s while he looks back on the big happening of going to school in the middle of a global event that affected everyone from all walks.
“We got to live history,” he said.