West Marshall celebrates Class of 2022 at commencement

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING —West Marshall graduates throw their caps in the air after being announced as official graduates at the end of Sunday afternoon’s commencement ceremony.

STATE CENTER – Inside a crowded gym at West Marshall High School, the Sunday afternoon ceremonies began with a video and a song. Harry Styles’ chart-topping “As It Was,” to be exact.

The video showing each of the West Marshall Class of 2022’s senior quotes and playing the British singer’s new single helped set the stage for a commencement ceremony led by principal Jake Randall and accompanied by three speakers from the student body as well as superintendent Jacy Large.

Randall spoke to the student body about the word commencement and its significance – pointing out the meaning of the word (to begin or start) – and trying to emphasize what this day represented for all of them.

“Some of you may be nervous of what lies ahead,” Randall said. “However, wherever you go, whatever path you choose, go with confidence, a little imagination and a lot of anticipation down that path and through those doors, wherever they lead you.”

The next speaker up was Large, who began with a light-hearted look back to the top-10 songs in 2003 to chuckles from those in attendance, including “In Da Club” By 50 Cent and “Picture” by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow. His larger point was centered around the importance of hard work in the next steps ahead for the graduates, as they won’t have a GPS or navigation from anyone but themselves along the way.

Student speakers were headlined by valedictorian Grace Tollefson, who was composed and calm at the podium while attempting to encapsulate everything the group has been through over the past four years.

“As we ourselves push towards greatness, let us not forget all the people that have helped us along the way,” Tollefson said. “As we leave the school grounds today, let us proceed with integrity, drive and compassion. I can’t wait to see what the Class of 2022 can accomplish.”

She was followed by salutatorian Reilly Jensen and class president Asher Nichols.

Jensen was focused on the learning experiences from start to finish.

“We have created new friendships and strengthened old ones,” Jensen said. “We have memorized countless formulas. We have turned in more assignments than we can count. Most important of all, we have grown as individuals.”

Nichols’ speech tried to impart the wisdom that failure is inevitable – what would be important for the West Marshall seniors is how they rise to the challenges that come with failures throughout life.

“Look around and see the writers, the artists, the master welders,” Nichols said. “The athletes and the future leaders, and the scientists that surround them. Each and every one of you is capable of greatness.”

Following the speeches and recognition of National Honor Society members, students were called up one by one to receive their diplomas.

After being confirmed as graduates, “Pomp and Circumstance” played and the Trojans walked out into the Sunday sun, now at the start of the newest chapter of their lives.


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