BY BRENDA DOMINICK, Clarkston News Staff Writer
It was a gorgeous night for a graduation, as families and friends of 606 soon-to-be alumni filled DTE Energy Music Theatre with excitement and remembrances.
"I am very proud of all of you and acknowledge your efforts, your triumphs, and the struggles you had to overcome to make it to this day," said Superintendent Shawn Ryan, in his first commencement address as district chief, Monday night. "I also want to recognize the people who are here for you tonight...the people who love you, who shaped you, and helped make this accomplishment possible. Take a look around at this crowd."
The superintendent congratulated Team RUSH, the World Champions Robotics Team; the MHSAA Division 1 Football State Champions; Winter Guard State Champions; Culinary Arts State Champions; and MHSAA Class A Basketball State Champions.
"No other school in the history of Michigan High School Athletic Association has ever claimed this distinction in the same school year," he added.
Ryan also gave a special recognition to the National Merit Scholars on their job well done.
The class had an "epic, history-making senior year," with strong support of family and friends, he said.
During the ceremony, the CHS combined Symphonic Band and Choirs provided music and harmonic singing. Kids walked around the amphitheater selling candies, granola bars, and waters, as well as vibrant, beautiful roses which matched the exuberant spirit and pride from the students, family, and staff.
The CHS Senior Class Executive Board presented a reflection of school years.
Julia Schichtle and Rebecca Snyder reminisced about their freshman year and how excited they were to win the annual junior high pep rally.
Catherine Laube and Zoe Puskar gave a recap of a memorable sophomore year. They spoke of important historical events such as the presidential campaign with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the passing of many celebrities such as Prince and Nancy Reagan, and the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the 2016 NBA Championship. They also recognized CHS group accomplishments such as the Drama Club's production of "Carousel" and the marching band placing 10th at the state finals.
Madigan Eppink and Molly Nicholson recalled special junior times.
They remembered the daunting preparations for SAT and ACT exams, followed by college applications and essays. They also spoke of Michael Phelps winning more gold and silver medals to add to his collection, the Zika virus becoming a major global scare, and Donald Trump winning the election. This was followed by very loud cheering and applauding by some guests. Applause also given for the pivotal point of the boys basketball team's first historical state championship.
Last, but not least, seniors Joel LaBruzzy and Braden Wilson spoke fondly about the challenges and successes they went through this past year. The students spoke about the many proud Wolves championships, homecoming dances, the various charities they raised lots of money for. The boys also noted the challenges such as picking colleges to attend, and said they joking asked themselves, "Should I study for this test tonight?" Which was followed by laughter from the audience.
They concluded their speech by embracing the warm relationships between students. "Now we all need each other. Whether we leave for universities, community college, vocational school, the military, or anything else, we know Clarkston will be well represented throughout the world, as we remember the class of 2018 is truly the greatest class to walk through CHS."
Principal Gary Kaul and CCS School Board President Elizabeth Egan encouraged the graduates to keep striving to do their best and they wished them a life full of happiness and fulfillment.
"A Parting Blessing" was sang in unison by the Madrigal singers followed by the Tassel Ceremony by the 2018 Senior Class Executive Board. The graduates were each given sunflowers and at the end of the ceremony, were invited to throw them in the air in lieu of their caps.
About Clarkston Community Schools: Clarkston is a highly regarded school district with an enrollment of nearly 8,000 students. We have seven elementary schools (K-5), one middle school serving grades 6-7, one junior high for grades 8-9, and Clarkston High School, which serves students in grades 10-12. We also have an Early Childhood Center serving children ages 3-5, and an alternative high school/community education facility. Each Clarkston Community Schools' student is fully engaged in a globally focused education, from preschool through graduation, that fosters in students a sense of self, perspective, responsibility/ownership, and contribution. The mission of Clarkston Community Schools is to cultivate thinkers, learners and positive contributors to a global society.
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