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Graduation ceremony sends off Class of 2024

By Michael Reo

On June 2, Ratcliffe Field was filled with families, friends and a flurry of caps and gowns. Around 100 degrees were set to be conferred that afternoon, and as the stands filled up, the graduates took their seats on the field.
The ceremony saw a number of speakers from South Haven High School, from the class’s own Hawk Li to principal Ryan Williamson. In an interview, Williamson said although he didn’t want to detract from previous years, the Class of 2024 included a lot of star students.
“I don’t want to take away from previous years, too, but there’s no doubt that we had some exceptional students this year, and their accomplishments are impressive,” Williamson said.
Williamson found the uniqueness of the class in their abnormal start to their high school careers, impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Their first year of high school was a blended learning, so it was a part online. We were coming in person two days a week, so it was a rough start to their freshman year, so they had a lot of perseverance,” Williamson said.
Williamson highlighted that persistence when addressing the class at the ceremony.
“Graduation from South Haven High School is a culmination of your persistent efforts. In order to accomplish this, you had to make changes in your perspective, your attitude, your priorities and your actions,” Williamson said. “Life will continue to present you with challenges and opportunities. Apply the values you’ve learned: responsibility, caring, trustworthy, helpful, and awareness.”
Alongside Williamson, school board president Laura Bos spoke. Bos, who had a son graduating with the Class of 2024, said the graduation season reminded her of songs from videos put together in her son’s younger years. Bos listed off some of these songs, including Rascal Flatts’ “My Wish,” while talking about her pride toward the class.
“Today is filled with your family, friends and teachers, all of whom are here because we are so proud of you and your achievements. Our collective wish for you is to have a life filled with dreams,” Bos said.
Kayley Gorham, one of the top students in the graduating class, also gave a speech. She addressed the opportunities that lay before students as they leave high school and decide what to do next.
“After you get your diploma, your life is in front of you,” Gorham said. “You’ll have so many decisions to make, and patience is key. Be determined to not give up.”
Following the speeches and performances by the high school choir, Williamson instructed students to turn their tassels, signaling their completed graduation from the high school. As the ceremony concluded, caps flew through the air, and the Class of 2024 put their previous education behind them.

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