A final sendoff for seniors in Tigerton

17 seniors honored and rewarded with diplomas
Luke Reimer

The Tigerton School District said farewell to 17 of its students during the district’s graduation ceremony on May 19.

Tigerton High School Principal Nate Johnson opened the ceremony thanking family, friends, students and the graduating seniors for attending. During his speech, Johnson paid homage to the students, saying that he was “exceptionally proud” of those that are taking their next steps in life.

“Their dedication, determination and perseverance has enabled them to arrive at this very moment today to receive their hard-earned diplomas,” said Johnson. “High school is an unforgettable journey that has helped prepare you for what the future may hold. These past four years will undoubtedly represent some of the most memorable and influential moments of your lives.”

Class president Tyler Dent followed Johnson giving a speech on the time that the 17 seniors spent together and reminiscing on some of the best times that the group had.

“We all start somewhere and I know for a lot of us it all started in pre-K,” said Dent. “This was a very important time for all of us — from starting the building blocks of our future to looking at the fish in the back of the classroom. It was the first start of our class, where we all get to know each other — it may have seemed like we were all just a bunch of strangers then, but now we have grown into what we are today.”

Dent walked through each grade that the class of 2023 experienced together, focusing on fifth grade. He said that this is where the group really started to grow up and build for their futures.

“(Fifth grade) was what is was all about for us — we had worked our whole lives for this,” said Dent. “We were the highest grade in elementary and we would also be growing up — next year we would be in middle school. We had a lot of laughs. We had the last day of school, which for us felt like forever, but we are here now.”

He went on to thank students, staff, administration and school board members for being a part of each person graduating.

Salutatorian McKenzie Miller followed Dent, recapping the class’ last year together.

“The countdown started on the first day of senior year when there were 260 days (left),” said Miller. “I remember walking through the doors for the first time as seniors and that being our last first day. We made our last homecoming or prom, our last high school Friday-night-light game, our last time playing on the court or field and our last day of school. Homecoming came and went, along with the dress-up days and decorating the homecoming float, at this point, it did not hit me yet that this was our very last time.”

Miller said that on Feb. 8, there was just 100 days left before graduation, and before she knew it, it was time to graduate.

“All of a sudden it was May 1 and we had 19 days left,” said Miller. “Then it was prom and we only had 13 days left. I am not sure how 100 days turned into 13 days and somehow before the beginning of this week, we were down to five days. We walked through the doors on our prom with tears in our eyes, realizing that was the very last time to figure out how to tie a tie or pick up a dress for a high school dance. Somehow this is it, really turned to this is it.”

Valedictorian Skylar Hauser took the stage after Miller to once again thank everyone in the audience, while recapping a couple of things that she had learned in her career in the Tigerton School District.

“You may not believe me until it is your turn to stand up here and that’s okay, but I think the best piece of advice that all underclassmen should consider is to cherish every moment,” said Hauser. “The choices that you make today, will affect you tomorrow. I hope you can take that message with you, because your future does not start tomorrow, it starts today.

“Starting today, if you want to stay Tiger-strong, make good choices today to benefit you tomorrow. We also learned to do things right the first time, because if you do things right the first time, you will be able to avoid all of the consequences, you won’t fall behind and you will gain credibility.”

Finally, district administrator Douglas Nowak ended the ceremony thanking the students for all of their hard-work and wished them luck in the future.

“I appreciate the welcome that this class gave me as the new superintendent,” said Nowak. “The class of 2023 is kind, courteous and respectful. During their school careers, they individually and collectively established themselves with the best as intellectuals, fine artists and athletes. Their accomplishments are evident by their scholarships, the accolades from the fine-arts program and on the field or court. By my account, the Tigerton class of 2023, is the class of 2023.”