A group of seniors prepare to take their seats near the start of the ceremony. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)
A group of seniors prepare to take their seats near the start of the ceremony. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

Archived Story

Superintendent boasts numbers as Dowagiac graduates 133

Published 8:00am Monday, June 2, 2014

For Dowagiac Union Schools Superintendent Mark Daniel, the story of the Class of 2014 is all in the numbers.

In his remarks to the departing students, Daniel highlighted a few of the figures that he and the fellow educators were most proud of: 30 students were graduating with honors, 23 with high honors and 40 percent with a 3.0 GPA or higher.

But none gave him more pride the last figure he read off.

“You came in as a class this year of 133, and 133 of you are graduating,” Daniel said, followed by an enormous round of applause from the parents, friends and loved ones who rose to their feet in stands.

The class of 2014 completed the last step in their journey inside the halls of the Dowagiac school buildings on Sunday afternoon, during the 149th annual commencement ceremony, held outside the high school at the Chris Taylor Alumni Field.

Despite the sense of finality that many of the students receiving their diplomas felt, Daniel and other speakers emphasized the importance of making the best choices in regards to their futures, especially when it pertained to college.

For many students in the class, many of those choices have been made before they even had a chance to have their tassels flipped, with 35 students receiving credit hours at Southwestern Michigan College through dual enrollment programs, Daniel said. In addition, the senior class earned more than $540,000 in scholarships this year.

“One hundred percent of the class of 2014 has definite, post-secondary plans,” Daniel said. “That, I like.”

In her speech to her fellow classmates, salutatorian Morgan Adams mentioned her own experiences dealing with the rocky transition between childhood and adulthood that she dealt with throughout her senior year.

“Senior year has been a whirlwind of emotions, from the excitement of graduating to feeling the weight of expectations of growing up,” Adams said. “We’re at a major turning point in our lives: the transition into adulthood. Many of us are unsure about where we want to go in life, and are stuck between conflicting factors when making that choice.”

Following her remarks was valedictorian Austin Broda, who channeled the words of a previous valedictorian to encourage his classmates to continue living up their fullest potential, even as they all embark on a uncertain path toward their future.

“My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to,” Broda said. “That your dreams stay big, that your worries stay small, and that you never have to carry more than you can hold. And, while you’re out there getting to where you want to, just know that somebody loves you and wants the same thing for you.”

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