July 16 will mark the day salutatorian Evelyn Locke walks across the stage and celebrates with her fellow graduates the long-awaited finale to their time at Seneca High School.
The pomp and circumstance shifted a month ahead as the COVID-19 pandemic forced delays in all state graduations. But COVID also impacted Locke’s family, with their loved ones immuno-compromised and visitors kept outside to observe social distancing.
Despite all that, Locke has high hopes for the future, something she encourages in her fellow graduates.
“Stay positive for the future,” she said in an email interview with the Sun. “We missed out on a lot, but that can inspire us to go out in the world, try new things and appreciate the ones we love even more.”
A career in architecture was fostered by Locke taking Seneca’s drafting and technical classes. For Project Lead the Way — a science, technology, engineering and math program at the high school — Locke combined her creativity with math and her love of Legos. She intends to major in civil engineering at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.
But classes were not always easy for the A student. Geometry and Advanced Placement BC Calculus tested Locke’s limits and challenged her in ways she could not have imagined.
The former was a math concept she had not developed a strength in as she specialized in algebraic functions and fields. She earned a B average in the first quarter, but had to dedicate study time to finish the year with an A average.
“I did not take AB Calculus, so we had to learn everything from AB and BC in one year,” Locke recalled. “It was a really hard class, but (teacher Jennifer) Denn made it awesome and so much fun!”
Locke is continuing preparation for Lafayette, crossing items off of her dorm shopping list, one of which is a trunk she said makes her feel like she is at Hogwarts from “Harry Potter.” The college has a volunteer farming opportunity called LaFarm Locke aspires to join, giving back to her college and its community while she combines her love of gardening and helping others.
Locke encourages other new seniors and Seneca students to be involved in activities, sports and clubs that pique their interests. Her experience in such activities helped her evolve from shy to charismatic.
Locke described her Seneca education as “rewarding” and reiterated the school’s family mantra.
“I hoped that my class would remember all of the great aspects of Seneca, and how special our bond is with the teachers and staff, rather than focusing on what we missed out on as seniors,” she shared.
Her last words to fellow graduates?
“‘Our Seneca family will always be with us,'” Locke’s speech says. “‘No matter what we missed out on over these last months, that spirit, that support and laughter, that striving — that is Seneca Family.'”