As snowflakes lightly fell on the Friday of May 20, a group of more than 20 Patriot High School students stepped into the spotlight as the graduating class of 2022.
“You are all beautiful and amazing individuals, so be proud of that,” said Steve Gard, PHS principal during his opening remarks. "I speak for the entire Patriot High School staff when I say you deserve to be proud of who you are, what you have overcome and what you aspire to be in the future. We certainly are all proud of you for that.”
The graduates along with their friends and families filled the PHS gym for a ceremony and send off, celebrating the completion of their journey in D49. Bruce Jilek, a student and staff favorite and retired PHS building manager, spoke to the group of graduates, encouraging them to remember the importance of owning their choices.
"That is so critical in your lives: to own the responsibility of your education, your careers and where you go from here. Own the responsibility of your future families,” Jilek said. "When I learned that, that benefited me my whole life.”
PHS student speaker Isaac George took the opportunity to recall memories of his time at PHS that made him smile, and some that made staff shake their heads. Isaac observed the final year at PHS included some struggles.
"I know we all had the scare of COVID still lingering, we had some problems such as not turning stuff in or struggling academically,” he said "I can definitely say I did some of that, but we all overcame it.”
Principal Gard called each student up individually to receive their diplomas and listen to a few words written about them by PHS staff. As the applause faded at the conclusion of the ceremony, the final words of Isaac George echoed through the room:
"We are here today because of our hard work, our dedication and our perseverance,” Isaac said. "I say thank you Patriot, thank you teachers, thank you parents, and most of all thank you class of 22 for being amazing!"
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