PHOTO GALLERY: Edwardsburg celebrates Class of 2021

EDWARDSBURG — Sunday, Edwardsburg High School graduating seniors celebrated a day more than a decade in the making.

Edwardsburg High School celebrated its Class of 2021 with a graduation ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday. The event, hosted on Leo Hoffman Field, featured performances from the high school band and choir, and speeches from top graduates. The entire ceremony was filmed and displayed on a large screen to be visible to parents and family members watching from the stands.

“It’s been a privilege to share in the experiences, achievements and challenges that made the Class of 2021 such an outstanding representation of Edwardsburg High School,” said EHS Principal Ryan Markel. “Today is the day to be extremely proud of all your accomplishments, graduates.”

The first student speaker on the stage was Salutation Elizabeth Naas. She thanked the district for giving her memories and relationships that shaped who she is today.

“I know that we will leave here today and part ways, but we will always have these memories that bond us to one other,” she said. “With the progress we made here, we will start to make an impact on the rest of the world. I am so excited to look back someday and see every single one of us making our mark inside and outside of these village limits.”

Naas’ speech was followed by addresses from each of the Class of 2021’s five valedictorians.

First to take the stage was Emily Andrina. Though she described herself as a life-long planner, she encouraged her classmates to live in the moment and embrace the unknown.

“Before COVID, I had plans for the entirety of my high school career, including what classes I would take, where I was going to college, and I knew 100 percent what I was going to study,” she said. “After COVID, I just tried to make it through each day. I learned that living without plans and going with the flow can be a lot more fun and the new path you chose will change your life.”

Next up to the podium was Reagan Hartman. In her speech, she also encouraged the Class of 2021 to be ready to adapt to whatever life throws at them — especially after all the changes they had to make over the last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the end, all that matters is that you always live life to the fullest,” she said. “It doesn’t matter which path you follow; whether you are a cashier, welder, engineer, doctor, you must strive to be number one in your ambitions. Life doesn’t pause when a crisis occurs, and neither should your dreams.”

Following was Jackson Hoover, who thanked his family, friends and educators for teaching him how to be successful in life.

“A couple of things I have learned throughout my time at Edwardsburg were to make the most of the opportunities we are presented with and to be thankful,” he said. “I think these are a couple of characteristics that we should all try to bring with us into the next chapter of our lives.”

Following Hoover, Noah Houseworth took the stage to remind his classmates to live life wisely.

“I want to urge you to spend your time wisely and embrace every moment because, as many of you are realizing as of late, time flies,” he said. “I hope that you all will continue to stay motivated to use your time wisely while also finding time to enjoy yourself and those around you, because before you know it, you’ll be hitting a new stage in your life, and I want all of you to be able to look back and be proud of your accomplishments as well as the memories you ended up gathering along the way.”

The final valedictorian to the stage was Thomas Oppman, who encouraged his fellow graduates to embrace the clichés of life and appreciate the everyday occurrences that make life special.

“Why should the commonness of a small-town graduation take away from the fact that this is one of the most joyous days of our lives?” he said. “Even though these moments are ordinary and common, they are yours. I only ask that you enjoy them.”

After valedictorian speeches, Markel congratulated the graduates before distributing diplomas and allowing the Class of 2021 to toss their caps in the air in celebration.

“I wish you success and happiness as you embark on new journeys in your lives,” Markel said.

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