PHOTO STORY: Buchanan High School graduates Class of 2022

Published 5:00 am Saturday, May 28, 2022

BUCHANAN — The Buchanan community packed the high school’s gymnasium stands to see the Buchanan High School Class of 2022 together for one last time.

Decked out in their caps, gowns, stoles, sashes and stylish cap art, the 109 graduating seniors marched into the gym to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” before listening to statements from Superintendent Patricia Robinson and Principal Stacey DeMaio.

“Graduates, you have instilled a sense of pride and excitement in your community, parents and staff as we watch you receive your diplomas and move to your next challenge,” Robinson said. “Parents, teachers and staff, you have cultivated and prepared students with the knowledge and tools needed to help them follow their passions which will ultimately lead them to find their purpose in life, and for that, we are forever grateful for your support.”

From there, Buchanan’s three senior speakers — Nick McKean, Macey Orphanidis and Hailey Jonatzke  — delivered on what were their final assignments as high school students and looked back on their time as Bucks.

“Always remember what you did to achieve your accomplishments because there will always be someone to tell you that you don’t deserve to be where you are,” McLean said. “They will tell you that they should be in your position, maybe that they deserve some credit. To them, I encourage you to smile and walk away. Just know, no matter what anyone else says, there’s a reason you are where you are;l you had to fight to get what you wanted. Don’t let anyone take that iit away from you.”

“The Class of ’22 has persevered through the judgments and unknown experiences,” Jonatzke said. “Between the polar vortex, crazy dances and a global pandemic, we are still in one piece. … We inspire younger generations with Buck pride and create peaceful dreams. That’s who we are; we are fighters who redefine expectations and make history.”

Orphanidis posed one final question to her classmates as the Bucks prepared to leave the woods after 12 years of hard work.

“My favorite thing and probably the most important thing a teacher has ever taught me is what Mr. [Alex] Ehlert said, ‘hurt people hurt people; open hearts open hearts,” she said. “I hope we all go into this next chapter of our lives with open hearts. We will take the mistakes we’ve made, no matter how big or small, and learn from them. We’ll go into this world knowing that we do what we can to make it a better place. So I leave you with this one question. I want you to think very hard on it: Who do you want to be?”