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Lakewood honors Class of 2017

 

Christopher Andersson

Lakewood High School graduates celebrate at the end of their school's graduation ceremony on June 16.

Lakewood High School seniors took their final steps as students as they received their diplomas at the school's graduation on June 16.

The class will be the last to graduate from the current Lakewood High School, as the new Lakewood High School is scheduled to be open next year.

"The class of 2017 endured the most hardship of any without the benefit of being able to enjoy the new school. Parking challenges, noise, fumes, stagnant air, fluctuating temperatures and just dealing with going to school in the middle of a construction site," said Lakewood High School principal Mike Curl.

Students joked about the aging school in some of their addresses.

"This class is going to be the last to walk through the halls of old Lakewood. I'm going to miss those beat-up orange lockers, the dirty art room, creaking portables and the barbecues on that makeshift barrel grill," said student Henry Hurd.

Students also said they were very happy and proud to be part of the Class of 2017.

"As I look back over the past four years I think of all the great times we had as a class. While we may have had some challenges along the way, we have gotten closer and made bonds we will always cherish," said valedictorian Jenna Melton.

Those years passed quickly for many of the students.

"I never thought the first stage of my life would be over so soon," said Hurd.

"Looking back on the letters we wrote our freshman year, it's crazy to see how much we've changed," he said. "It has been an honor growing up with this class."

Curl said this was the largest graduating class from the school in a number of years, and had one of the highest graduation percentages for the school as well.

"Your legacy will live on and we will miss you," he said.

According to the senior exit survey, 28 percent of graduates are planning to attend a four-year university, 47 percent are planning to attend a community college or technical school and 3 percent are planning on military service.

Lakewood School District Superintendent Michael Mack said that they were a unique group, and one he first met when he was an assistant principal at Lakewood Middle School.

"I first met them September 2011 as seventh-graders and they were a handful, but a beautiful handful," he said.

Christopher Andersson

Lakewood High School graduate Dezirae Mckenzie walks back to her seat with her diploma during the school's graduation ceremony on June 16.

"It was some of my favorite memories," he said.

And now the class will go on to whatever waits for them after school.

"I know we will go our separate directions after tonight ... but I would like to encourage everyone to appreciate the time they have now with their friends and family," said Melton.

Jeremiah Wohlgemuth, civics, history and current world issues teacher at the high school, encouraged students to look forward.

"Let's be honest, there are bigger and better things ahead," he said.

He asked students to "be the best you can" at whatever they choose to do and to realize that bad and good times both are ahead.

"You will have horrible things happen to you and your loved ones, there will be pain, and there will also be joyous events that will happen that you will never forget," he said.

 

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