PHOTO GALLERY: Cassopolis celebrates Class of 2021

CASSOPOLIS — Saturday evening, Cassopolis High School seniors donned blue and white robes to close the chapter of their high school experience.

Cassopolis Public Schools hosted a graduation ceremony for the Class of 2021 Saturday on the district’s football field. The event featured speeches from top students, a community guest speaker and a performance from the high school band.

“This group of 64 graduating seniors has demonstrated remarkable flexibility as they worked through this unprecedented time,” said Renee Manno, Cassopolis High School Principal, as she introduced the class. “We are here to celebrate and congratulate the Class of 2021.”

The first of two student speakers was salutatorian Taylor Herwick. In her speech, she encouraged her classmates to “live their best lives.”

“Live authentically with no regrets; live for you,” she said. “Be intentional with your words and actions. Plan for tomorrow — or don’t. This is your life, and you get to choose how you live it. Be yourself 110 percent of the time.”

Next to the podium was valedictorian Gabriella Rowan. She thanked her family and educators for supporting her and getting her to graduation. She then encouraged her fellow graduates to live in the moment and follow their passions as they move to the next phase of their lives.

“Even though the future may be uncertain, it holds endless opportunities and chances,” she said. “As you figure out what your next step may be, stay true to yourself. However corny this may sound, follow your heart.”

After the student speeches, the district introduced guest speaker Carol Montavon Bealor, the director of Cass County Friend of the Court. Though Bealor said she aimed for “A” s when she was in school, she told the graduates that they should strive to achieves “C” s.

“To be successful in the next phase of your journey, you need ‘C’s,’” she said. “Those ‘C’s are curiosity, communication, connections, care, confidence and celebration. … Please promise me graduates of the Class of 2021, believe in yourselves. Make the most of your journey. Face your futures with curiosity.”

Following speeches, Manno, Superintendent Angela Piazza and members of the school board presented the graduates with their diplomas and wished them well as they entered the next chapter of their lives.

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