Tigerton says good luck to 11 graduates

Graduates, administrators reflect on the path to get to graduation day
Lee Pulaski
City Editor

Each of the 11 graduates honored at the May 17 Tigerton High School commencement stepped through an arch of purple, silver and black balloons, marking the conclusion of their secondary education and stepping through the door to the rest of their lives.

Pebbles Peterson, THS principal, spoke about the warmth and pride surrounding the graduates as hundreds of family members and other residents in the Tigerton area came together in the school gymnasium to watch the students walk across the stage to receive their diplomas and see a 15-minute slide show highlighting key points of their 13 years in the school district.

“This reflects the immense support and love that surrounds our graduates on this very special day,” Peterson said.

She praised the graduates for their “dedication and determination” for making it to this point.

“As you stand on the threshold of a new chapter in your lives, I encourage you to reflect on the unforgettable experiences and valued lessons that you gained during your time at Tigerton High School,” Peterson said. “Cherish those memories you’ve created and the friendships you’ve formed, for they will always be in a special place in your heart.”

Peterson expressed confidence that the graduates were equipped with the knowledge necessary to overcome the many obstacles life can throw at them.

“As you embark on the next chapter, take a moment to express gratitude to those who have supported you along the way — your parents, teachers, mentors and friends,” she said. “In a very real sense, your success is also shared by them. It’s time to bask in this moment and savor everything you’ve accomplished.”

Valedictorian Elizabeth Steuck expressed her gratitude during her commencement speech to her teachers.

“Our teachers were always believing in us and teaching us to do our best, even if we didn’t want them to,” Steuck said. “We greatly appreciate how much you’ve done to help us achieve our goals and dreams. Without you, we would not be where we are today.”

Steuck acknowledged the transition that was taking place that night.

“As we approach this thrilling new chapter, we are expected to experience a range of emotions — pride, thankfulness, maybe even a bit of anxiety, but regardless of what the future brings, we can all be proud of the perseverance and hard work that got us this far,” Steuck said.

Salutatorian Edythe Swanke described graduation as a hard fought prize, something that she and the rest of the class of 2024 has looked forward to since their freshman year.

“Guys, we did it,” Swanke said to the other graduates sitting in front of her. “We’re sitting her in our caps and gowns like many classes before us. We made it to this spot we were certain we’d never get to because this class is too hard or there’s never enough time. Many jokes were made. Many arguments were fought. Yet, we still did it.”

Loghan Wanta, class president, touched on the caps and gowns themes as he recalled being in elementary school and seeing the high school graduates then do a march through the school for all the children to see.

“It feels like just yesterday when we were standing in the elementary hallways, watching everybody walk in their caps and gowns, not realizing how soon that would be us,” Wanta said.

Once graduates collect their diplomas and move their tassels, that’s normally the end of commencement, but Superintendent Douglas Nowak kept them in their seats a few moments longer as he gave them some final words of wisdom.

“Over the past four years, you’ve faced rigorous course work, late-night study sessions and challenging exams,” Nowak said. “Passionate teachers have propelled you to think critically and broaden your horizons. Your achievements are not measured by grades or test scores but by the knowledge gained and the intellectual curiosity you’ve cultivated. These academic pursuits have prepared you for the diverse paths you will now take.”