Wauseon held its 142nd commencement ceremony to honor the graduating Class of 2022 on Sunday afternoon.
Eva Mennetti, senior class vice president, was the first speaker of the night, welcoming the crowd in attendance.
“This ceremony today is to be the closing of a chapter, and what a chapter it has been,” Mennetti said. “Starting tomorrow we begin our own unique and individual journeys that may be filled with turns, pit stops, re-routes, and destinations that we don’t even know ourselves yet.”
“Let us all spend today reminiscing on the past, celebrating the present, and anxiously awaiting the future,” she added. “We welcome you all today, and we look forward to enjoying this special time with you.”
Then high school principal Keith Leatherman took time out to recognize Superintendent Troy Armstrong, members of the school board, and all other school staff that played a role in the success of the students.
“At the high school, we are in a position of finishing the final four years of schooling for these students,” said Leatherman. “We recognize that it takes a lot of hard work, through grades K-12, to get our students to this milestone occasion today. Wauseon is blessed with a teaching and support staff that is absolutely second to none.”
Wauseon’s Class of 2022 is unique in the sheer number of valedictorians they had. A total of 16 students shared the honor of being co-valedictorian.
They were Carson Burt, Andrew Eberle, Daniel Hite, Marie Hutchinson, Makayla Kebschull, Jordan King, Colin Kinnersley, Grace Kuntz, Kyle Moore, Connor Nagel, Paige Pahl, Jane Richer, Zach Robinson, Clay Stump, Luke Tester, and Logan Waldron.
After the co-valedictorians were revealed, Leatherman announced that each of them would be inducted into this year’s Academic Hall of Fame class.
Superintendent Armstrong was next to address the crowd, tasked with announcing class speakers Grace Kuntz and Carter Nofziger.
“I am proud to stand before you today, celebrating graduation. I am very happy that they are enjoying a traditional graduation,” noted Armstrong.
Also, he briefly reflected on how his time at Wauseon prepared him for what was to come.
“My point to you today is that no matter where you are in your life journey, please remember, that your high school exposures have prepared you for your next steps. Be it the military, workforce, university, or trade school. Know that you will not always find success the first time you try something. At times, you will need to fail in order to succeed. I encourage you to expect failures, but strive for successes. And make the success your future.”
Kuntz was one of the 16 co-valedictorians. Similar to Armstong’s point, she stressed to her classmates work through any potential failure they should endure.
“No matter what you decide to do with your life, always remember that progress is not linear and that’s OK,” explained Kuntz. “We’re all going to fail multiple times, but all we can do in the end is our best. And, only you can define what success means in your life. So as I close, I would like to give a big thank you to all the parents, families, and friends who have supported me and all the other graduates.
“And I would also like to thank God for all the blessings he has given us. For the friendships, people, and memories that cannot be replaced.”
Following the speech by Nofziger, Principal Leatherman presented the Class of 2022 and diplomas were handed out.
Then, the class gift was presented by class secretary Kaylyn Demoulin and treasurer Ellie Rodriguez. Their gift was that the remaining funds for the Class of 2022 would be used for the purchase of new prom tables.
Class President Mason Ritter kept it short and sweet in his closing remarks. He pointed out that although the hard work of high school is over for him and his classmates, there is more hard work to come.
“Wherever life takes you, I know the Class of 2022 will be extremely successful,” Ritter said. “So take today to celebrate with family and friends. Before I end, I’d like to give a shout out and thank you to Marie Hutchinson for being our class president from freshman year all the way to junior year. I wish the best of luck to the Class of 2022.”
The ceremony also included a performance of “We’re All In This Together” by the senior choir members and “Nostalgia” by the high school band.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.