After their virtual graduation ceremony on Sunday, June 7, Stoughton High School seniors Ruby Knipfer and Sean McGlynn will officially be SHS alumni.

Both will continue their education — one student set to travel several hundred miles to do so, while the other needs only to travel as far as Madison. Both hope to build careers in the arts.

Knipfer, who will be working for her family’s business this summer, is set to attend Edgewood College to play soccer and major in clinical psychology and creative writing.

“They are planning in person classes there at this time, so I will hopefully live on campus,” she wrote the Hub in an email.

Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic “changed everything,” casting a shadow over not only her last few months as a Viking, but her future as well.

“Being in the class of 2020 is a blessing and a curse,” Knipfer said. “We missed out on so much, but on the other hand, we will be remembered for generations, and we can share that pain amongst ourselves and use it to heal, and to ultimately become better people.”

Above all, the last several months have taken away any semblance of a routine, she said, leaving her wondering about what’s next.

“Leaving into the real world will be a breath of fresh air, however, in the unrest our nation is in, it is scary,” she said. “It’s almost as though I’m conflicted to leave my family for college, but I know that I have to.”

Knipfer, who wants to become a published author, said it’s important for her to help people in the future, and plans to do that as she prepares to say goodbye to SHS.

“I’m a strong advocate for the LGBTQA+ community and want to give them more representation in books, shows, movies and more,” she said. “I wish people the best, and I hope they can find who they truly are when they are not pressured by friends.

McGlynn, who is set to attend Ohio University in Athens, Ohio this fall to study music theater, said he’s excited to see what places outside of Stoughton have to offer, and for new adventures in college and beyond. He said four years at SHS has taught him a lot about himself.

“I’ve grown into a person that is completely opposite than the one that walked in on my first day of freshman year,” he wrote the Hub in an email. “It taught me who I was, and what I wanted to do with my life.”

McGlynn, who hopes to eventually become a stage actor, said choir was his favorite class throughout his time at SHS, and credits choral director Ryan Casey for making the class so entertaining.

“I always found it to be a kind of escape from the stress of other class work,” he said. “Theater was also something I was heavily involved in, and it inspired me to go into musical theater in college, so that will always have a special place in my heart.”

Of course, the pandemic did take away one of the most important parts of high school, McGlynn said — simply being able to say goodbye to classmates ready to scatter across the country, and the world.

“It feels like I was forced out early, and the closure of leaving was never really there,” he said. “I miss seeing all my friends in class and I think it has taken away my ability to really leave high school completely. Like, that chapter of my life will always be left unfinished.

“If nothing, our high school experience will be certainly unique,” McGlynn continued. “And I’m sure it’ll be a great story to tell later on.”

Email Unified Newspaper Group reporter Scott De Laruelle at scott.delaruelle@wcinet.com.