Ross Beatty High School graduates 69 students

Published 9:47 am Thursday, June 13, 2019

CASSOPOLIS — Rain and clouds did not stop friends and family from packing into the gymnasium at Ross Beatty Junior/Senior High School in Cassopolis on Sunday to celebrate the accomplishments of the 140th graduating class.

“We are dreamers. We are thinkers. We are hard workers. We are doers. But you know what we aren’t? Quitters. We don’t give up. We keep going against all odds,” said valedictorian Madison Suseland.

Choking back tears, Suseland went on to say, “We’ve done so much, with so little, for so long, we can do anything, with nothing at all.”

The small class of 69 students has accomplished a lot in their four years of high school, according to alumni guest speaker Aretha Glover-Bohannon, class of 1988.

“In basketball, you have won districts, regionals and quarter-finals for state in football. You went all the way to semi-state. Robotics won regional competition, qualified and competed in state and in world competition, and FFA won districts, regional competitions and placed gold and silver in your competitions,” she said. “But the one thing — the one thing that really stood out — was the that out of the 69 graduates of this class of 2019, you’ve earned over 1.5 million dollars’ worth of scholarship dollars.”

Principal Robin Hadrick shared some statistics for the graduating class of 2019. With a 95-percent graduation rate, 33 students took college courses along with their high school studies, 42 played sports, 36 were involved with clubs and 22 with the arts. After high school, Hadrick said, 11 will begin an apprenticeship or working, 27 will attend a community college or trade school and 29 will attend a four-year university this fall.

“Our students are indeed prepared for their future,” she said. “Teachers, thank you for the tremendous work you have done to prepare our students for this day.”

The town of 1,700 has left quite an impact on salutatorian Chayla Gould, who moved to Cassopolis her sixth-grade year.

“My very first day, I felt welcome and excited at the prospect of starting again. I knew right then I never wanted to leave. Everyone here supports one another,” Gould said.

Gould was especially thankful for the teachers, crediting them with their success as a class. “They taught us what they were supposed to and so much more. Sure, we learned about English and science, but we also learned about the world and what is expected from us in society,” she said. “Our teachers are more than teachers, they are our mentors, friends, parents and sometimes therapists.”

Suseland, like Gould, is also thankful to be a part of her small hometown.

“I am incredibly proud of each and every single member of the Class of 2019,” Suseland said, “Cassopolis is a tiny little town. We have one stoplight, too many cornfields to count and possibly the best food on earth — mojos from Porky’s. And somehow, I know the middle names of almost everyone in our graduating class.”

Sage words of advice from an alumnus herself, Grove-Bohannon reminded the class, “You come from a family and a community so do not embarrass us. Strive to be superior, because if you fail, you’ll be excellent,” she said.

The 69 graduates shared a lot in their four years, most importantly, perhaps, their hometown of Cassopolis.

“No matter where we go, or whatever we decide to do … we will never forget where we came from [Cassopolis],” Gould said.

“We’ve all got that one thing that connects us. We’re from Cassopolis. A place full of dreamers, thinkers, hard workers and doers,” Suseland said.