The Blackfoot High School graduating class of 2022 held their graduation commencement ceremony on Thursday and marked the beginning of the rest of their lives.
With 10 students graduating as valedictorians, 38 graduating with top scholars and 258 graduating total, the students walked across the stage of the Blackfoot Performing Arts Center after receiving their diplomas, officially ending their high school years.
“There’s only so much we can take with us. I’m lucky to be one of us. So here’s to us,” sang Cora Stringham in a song she wrote in honor of her graduating class.
The BHS Symphonic and Concert Bands performed “Rain” by Brian Balmages to honor the graduates.
“Whether you’re walking across the stage decorated with honors, or just honored to graduate, we all have a reason to be proud of that diploma,” said Sarah Despain in her Senior Class President address. “That diploma represents the last 13 years of our lives. It represents our elementary school shenanigans, our introductions to interests and extracurriculars, our connections to classmates, a year of online craziness and completion of senior year despite overwhelming senioritis.”
Ellie McBride, who gave the first valedictorian address, wanted to start by saying one word that describes the BHS class of 2022.
“There are so many amazing things about these people that make it difficult to sum them up in just one word. Some words that came to mind are talented, hardworking, unique, determined, passionate and two huge ones for us are resilient and adaptable,” McBride said.
McBride spoke to the challenges her graduating class faced during their four years of high school, some of it unique to their generation.
“As you all know, COVID took away half of our sophomore year and it altered all of our junior year. Junior year is hard enough as it is but these alterations made it very difficult for us. Although we have had many challenges and obstacles in the past four years, this class was able to adapt and push through,” McBride said.
In the second valedictorian address, Hollie Ricks spoke to challenges they face in the current digital media landscape.
“Everyday we are bombarded with ads and messages. From social media filled with posts of people travelling or doing fun things, to the ads we see and hear in our entertainment and music, we are constantly being persuaded to think we need more, or that happiness is just out of reach,” Ricks said.
Ricks advised her class to find happiness in their lives in the present, because they won’t find it if they’re constantly chasing it.
“If we spend our lives trying to chase happiness we’ll never find it. Even in the most excruciating circumstances, we can and should find things to be grateful for,” Ricks said.
Despain also spoke to the struggles her class will face in their lives after graduation.
“The path to our goals is not always going to be an easy one. We’ll lack confidence and we’ll struggle to rise in the early mornings. We may say at times I can’t do it,” Despain said.
The math department unintentionally taught her that, “yet is the most powerful addition. Instead of believing that we’re just not enough, we can be otherwise. We can say I don’t understand it, yet. Or I can’t do it, yet. When you add a yet, any difficult task can seem within reach.”
McBride wanted to recognize people in her speech who don’t get the recognition they deserve.
“I want to congratulate everyone on this stage. Not just the ones that had the most accomplishments or had the highest GPA, everyone,” McBride said.
McBride wanted to congratulate everyone who struggled with depression or anxiety, those that faced hard times in their families, those that couldn’t participate in extracurriculars because they were working to support their families and the ones that had to work twice as hard because school didn’t come as easy for them.
“I want everyone to know that you are seen, and not alone. The class of 2022 has been resilient and hardworking, and that will not change after we graduate. Never stop being the high achievers you are, and never give up when you are faced with a challenge,” McBride said.
The word that McBride felt best described her class was grit.
Ricks reminded her classmates that every second of their lives they’re choosing their future.
“Be wise in your decisions today and tomorrow as you navigate through the flight of life. Just one degree, one second, can forever change your future, for the good and the bad,” Ricks said. “As you move on from today, go out and do good, remembering the beauty and blessings where you are right now,” Ricks said.
“It is with great honor and pleasure that I present to you the Blackfoot High School graduating class of 2022 for the awarding of their diplomas,” said BHS Principal Roger Thomas. After that, the graduates crossed the stage, ending the ceremony and beginning the next phase of their lives.
“There’s only so much we can take with us. I’m proud to be one of us,” Stringham ended her song.
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