NCSSM Online students recognized in ceremony

On Saturday, June 5, on a soccer field warmed by a mid-morning sun, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics called the names of nearly 180 students who had participated in NCSSM-Online.

The program allows juniors and seniors from throughout the state to enroll in credit-bearing online courses at NCSSM while remaining at their home high schools. The seniors recognized hail from ​59 counties and ​115 home high schools and represent all ​13 of North Carolina’s congressional districts. Each student received a certificate recognizing their achievement. 

Of all NCSSM’s end-of-year ceremonies, the NCSSM Online ceremony provided the most visually compelling testament of NCSSM’s service to the state with a kaleidoscopic procession of cap-and-gowned honorees dressed in the colors of their local schools. The blues and purples and reds and greens all spoke of NCSSM’s decades-long mission to unite an incredible mix of young North Carolinians from all corners of the state under the banner of a shared ambition.

In his address to the students, NCSSM Chancellor Dr. Todd Roberts spoke of the challenges of the previous year as he congratulated students on their perseverance. 

“Last spring, about a month into the pandemic,” he said, “I shared a video with all of you … and in that video I said that I hoped we would all seek out and find joys and insights where we could, and that when we looked back on this time, we could say that it was not what we couldn’t do that defined this time and us, but instead what we could do and did do. You’ve all leaned into this … and accomplished so much, and done it in ways that really, to me, have been astonishing.

“The work that you’ve put in over the past two years as part of our Online program while excelling in your busy lives at home in the midst of the pandemic is extraordinary.”

Meera Patel, of Providence Day School in Charlotte, was chosen to deliver the student address. She spoke of the defining traits that make NCSSM an institution revered by those who have studied here.

“I came into NCSSM expecting to learn about things I loved — neuroscience, genetics, diseases — and I did,” she said. “I came in expecting the classes to be challenging, and they were. But what I didn’t expect was that my love for science and academic rigor would lead me to meet incredible people and make countless friends.

“I realized how fortunate I was to be a part of NCSSM … to be able to pursue what I was passionate about and be given the resources I needed to succeed and not only do well, but do exceptionally well. Because that is what NCSSM is all about.”

As the ceremony drew to a close, Roberts again expressed his admiration for the students who had so successfully managed such an unprecedented set of circumstances. “What brings me so much hope in this time of historic challenges and uncertainty,” he said, “is all of you: your great intellect and knowing how to apply your knowledge, your compassion, your understanding that you are a part of a community larger than yourselves, and your desire to make things better than they are. Your resilience and action is what it takes to address great challenges like the ones you faced over the past two years and those that you will undoubtedly face in the future … You’ve all demonstrated so well that a community is not just about a place, but about the people and what they make of it … I encourage you to take this spirit of community with you and share [it] with others, because there is an awful lot of what you all have that’s needed in the places you will go.”

Watch the recording of the 2021 Online Recognition Ceremony.

View our photo album from the ceremony.