The Battle Ground High School Class of 2022 celebrated the end of their high school careers in a downpour during the school’s graduation ceremony on June 10 at the district’s football stadium.
The school’s Air Force JROTC presented the color guard before Danika Schnell of the BGHS chorus sang the National Anthem. Principal Charbonneau Gourde introduced senior class president Madison Jolma with the commencement’s first speech.
“Through all we have dealt with during our time here at BGHS, we have learned some crucial life lessons and done a lot of growing up,” Jolma said. “I hope that as you move forward into whatever the future holds for you, you’re able to remember the lessons you have learned, but I also hope you make mistakes and I hope you make a lot of them. We’re all still so young. Now is the time to make mistakes, to fall in love a lot, to be impulsive, take risks, and bet against the odds, because we won’t always have the chance to live like this.”
Jolma emphasized how unpredictable the future can be, but gave her classmates reassurance by reminding them Battle Ground will always be there for the students to return to.
“I’m thankful to have been a part of this class. There’s no other group of people I’d rather spend my childhood with,” she said.
After a rendition of “For Good” from the musical “Wicked” was performed, valedictorian Makayla Loose offered some words to the audience.
“We did not have a single normal year of high school,” Loose said. “We dealt with teacher strikes, Zoom classes, and even learned something new: social distancing. We have overcome challenges that no one could have prepared us for, but extra disinfectant and masks weren’t the only adjustment we made. We worked around all of these setbacks and still made it here to graduate today.”
Loose’s speech highlighted the resilience displayed by the class and their willingness to overcome adversity, despite the odds they faced since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“We worked so hard, and if we can make it through a pandemic that shut down the entire globe, we can definitely handle the new and amazing chapter of our lives,” she said.
Valedictorian Karleigh Potter offered a different angle to her speech, which took inspiration from Taylor Swift’s commencement speech at New York University’s Class of 2022 commencement ceremony.
“I know it can be really overwhelming figuring out who to be and when, who you are now and how to act in order to get to where you want to go,” Potter said. “I have some good news: It’s totally up to you. I have some terrifying news: It’s totally up to you.”
As members of the Class of 2022, Potter described the students as scholars and masters of “persistence, grit, and excelling within the confines of what we can control.” She also mentioned how important it is for the graduates to take care of themselves when out in the world. She encouraged taking mental health days, mending broken relationships that are worthy of it, and assuming the best in others.
Before each student received their diploma, which closed out the ceremony, Gourde left the class with a speech for the students to carry with them on their journeys.
“As you leave us, please remember one thing: Be kind to one another,” Gourde said. “We can make this world a better place simply by treating each and every person we encounter with dignity and respect, and by working hard in anything we do. Thank you for the opportunity to work with you these past few years. Congratulations.”
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