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Congratulations to the Class of 2022

A total of 92 students from the Jordan-Elbridge class of 2022 were recognized during a commencement ceremony at John Howes Stadium on Friday, June 24th. Superintendent James Froio kicked off the 58th ceremony, where students and their loved ones heard from keynote speaker and Board of Education vice president William Yard, valedictorian Bayleigh Clark, salutatorian Elora Kunz, and senior class co-president Valerie Reith.

William Yard kicked off the speeches, telling the story of a young man named Austin who tragically lost his family across two separate plane crashes. The first crash happened when he was a young child, and killed his mother, brother, and sister. He and his dad vowed to live life to the fullest in their honor.

When Austin grew older, he received a full scholarship to play basketball at the University of Michigan. Shortly before he started school, he and his dad got into another plane crash, and his dad died. Austin was in a coma for two months and was told he might not ever walk again. Yard said Austin didn’t let his circumstances define him, he fought his way back to the court, stayed on the team, and even played in one game during his college career.

“All of you possess the same attributes as Austin,“ said Yard.

“March of 2020 changed everything, but you didn’t let that define you. Choose to view life through the lens of gratitude.”

During her speech, valedictorian Bayleigh Clark reminisced over the past four years with her classmates. She called their high school years lifechanging, and said if they could get through that, they could get through anything.

“We only had one normal year, with the other three being affected by the pandemic,” explained Bayleigh.

“Nothing was untouchable, and covid could wipe anything out. We’ve had really high highs and really low lows. Everyone was affected in some shape or way.”

Bayleigh went on to say as long as you have people in your life who believe in you, you don’t have to be afraid of what the future holds. She also encouraged everyone to stop and ask for help when they need it. Bayleigh left her classmates with three parting thoughts.

“Treat people with kindness, remember love is only for the brave, and remember to win the day, Eagles,” advised Bayleigh.

Salutatorian Elora Kunz encouraged her classmates to remember the amazing memories that have carried them through their high school years.
“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?” Elora repeated throughout her speech.

Elora brought back some inside jokes from middle school, told her peers she knew they would be successful, adding they already were a success for making it to graduation day, and reminded everyone to always choose what makes them happy. Another major message in Elora’s speech was to keep hold of the memories that have been made.

“Take everything you’ve done, and learned, and everyone you’ve met and loved and hated, and bring that all with you,” recommended Elora.
“We’ve learned more from each other than we ever will from any test or grade we ever got. We have changed each other for the better and we can’t forget that.”

Elora was also co-class president along with Valerie Reith, who followed Elora with a speech of her own. Valerie thanked high school staff members, shared some school memories, and left her classmates with the message that fear will always be there, it’s inevitable, but you can’t let that fear control you.

“Never fear failure, because perfection can’t be reached,” said Valerie.

“Real people aren’t perfect, and perfect people aren’t real.”

This year’s graduation ceremony included a “Presentation of Roses.” As each graduate crossed the stage to receive their diploma, they were presented with a single, long-stemmed rose. The rose signified the love and support that the graduates have received from those in their life who have helped them reach this milestone day. After the ceremony, each graduate was encouraged to present the rose to a person who has made a difference in their life, to recognize the special place in their heart.

You can watch the ceremony in full here.

Students in the Class of 2022 throw their caps into the air at graduation