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Class of 2022 Graduates in Style

The 75th graduating class of Southwestern Central School District joined in a sea of navy blue robes and big smiles on Friday (June 24, 2022) to celebrate graduation. 

Following the processional set to “Pomp and Circumstance,” the graduates and their loved ones gathered in the auditorium for a welcome by senior class co-vice presidents Melissa DeVore and senior class co-vice president Emily Kimball. 

The high school concert band then performed “Star Spangled Banner” before DeVore and Kimball introduced the guests. The class officers’ address was led by class co-presidents Mary Rose Slater, Dontae Ferraro Hoose and Brendon Earl Luce. They made sure to thank their parents, teachers and role models and made sure their remarks were short and sweet:

“We have had many bumps in the road but somehow, we all made it here,” the three presidents said. “Southwestern has given us many great opportunities and has helped us start figuring out who we want to be.”

Salutatorian Melissa DeVore, who will major in biology at John Carroll University in Ohio, then stepped to the podium for her salutatorian address. 

“We have grown to adapt to the situations we’ve been put in and have grown into who we are at this very moment, about to close an amazing chapter of our lives, but also about to step into a new one,” said DeVore. “This new chapter will bring about incredible opportunities and situations that will enable us to continue growing.”

Valedictorian Ethan Livingston,who is headed to study at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh then addressed the audience. 

“As you all prepare to enter the world, I entreat my fellow students to do their best to be kind to others. I know that sounds cheesy, but the fact of the matter is kindness is a rare commodity these days,” said Livingston. “With the current state of the world right now, people could use some extra kindness in their lives, and we all have the power to be that helping hand.”

Principal Scott A. Cooper then delivered a message to the Class of 2022 focused on seven words to live by: empathy, compassion, kindness, selflessness, togetherness, understanding and love.   

“We wish you the best on life’s journey,” said Cooper on behalf of the district. “And we are looking forward to witnessing your waves of change as you delve into your life’s work and keep smiling.”

Cooper then joined Superintendent Maureen Donahue, Board of Education President James Butler and Director of Instructional Services Molly Moore for the distribution of diplomas. 

After every Trojan had their diploma in hand, Superintendent Donahue led the graduates in the tassel change-over, a final meaningful gesture symbolic of the end of their high school careers. 

Also assisting in the ceremony were HS/ES Assistant Principal Matthew Kindberg, Director of Pupil Personnel Services Amy McCloskey, school counselors Alexis Crytzer and Chelsey Winchester, Class of 2022 advisors Alissa Steger and Derek Houser, senior class secretary Ella White as well as senior co-treasurers Teagan Shedd and Spencer Kane. Music was provided by members of the Southwestern High School concert band and directed by Mrs. Jamie Sigler.

Following the ceremony, the graduates and their families enjoyed the traditional tea reception featuring refreshments and photo opportunities. 

Class of 2022 pose in robes in gym
Class of 2022 members throw caps into the air outside under the SOUTHWESTERN sign on the gym