A journey came to an end and new journeys began as the Swanton High School Class of 2022 walked across the stage in McQuade Gymnasium May 29 and received their diplomas.
Principal Jason Longbrake started the commencement ceremony by praising the class.
“This is a great class. It’s a very unique class. It’s a high functioning class. It’s a very active class,” said Longbrake. “They’ve been through a lot with COVID. They’ve been through this pandemic, or whatever we’re going to call it, better than most adults. The kids, really, from Homecoming to a lot of things, they were able to make lemonade out of lemons.”
Class President Riley Bellner then welcomed everyone and asked for a moment of silence for the lives lost in the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
Reese Oberheim, the salutatorian for the Class of 2022, then talked about earlier years, including letters they wrote to themselves in sixth grade.
“Now as seniors, 12 grades later, we end this wonderful journey together just the way we started it, with our family and friends close by,” said Oberheim. “Today we embark on a new journey.”
What stuck out the most to Oberheim about his class was its passion, strength, and courage.
“If there’s one message I can leave with you today it’s this, “To read the word impossible as nothing more than motivation and to always shoot for the moon, that way you’ll land among stars.”
Bellner, who was also the class valedictorian, then returned to the stage. She said nobody is going to remember the words she says, only the feelings and excitement of graduation day.
“So, I wanted to use my words to contribute to those feelings and to do my best to write something memorable for us. Even if (it) does get a little lost in all the emotions today will have.”
Bellner recounted memorable moments for the Class of 2022.
“This year in particular I will remember very well, full of lasts. Last time on the field or court, last speech written for Mr. Eppert, last time walking the halls as a student, last time for it all,” she said.
Bellner said it is not important to remember every single thing, but “it’s about choosing to remember the good and the happy so you’re able to look back fondly on this time of your life. We all work so hard and we deserve to keep the good with us.”
Over anything else, Bellner said “I’m going to remember Swanton High School and the people it’s filled with as the environment that raised me and made me who I am. And for that, I will forever be grateful.”
A slide show featuring members of the Class of 2022 through the years and performance by the high school concert band were among other parts of the ceremony. Guest speaker Betty Jo Sadowski, a retired Swanton teacher, praised the students and wished them well on their future endeavours.