Cassopolis Class of 2022 graduates with spirit of resilience – with GALLERY

Published 6:49 pm Friday, June 3, 2022

CASSOPOLIS — Smiles and sunshine beamed on the faces of students as they filed out of their high school as official graduates. 

Students, friends and family gathered inside the gymnasium at Ross Beatty High School Thursday for the school’s 143rd commencement ceremony. One by one, the 76 graduates of the Cassopolis High School Class of 2022 received their diplomas and were formally recognized as high school graduates by district administration and the school board. 

“This is a remarkable group of graduating students,” said Cassopolis High School Principal Lindsay Gorham-Pflug, as she began the ceremony. “They have displayed remarkable perseverance, drive and humility as they worked through this unprecedented time.”

Salutatorian Lauren Anderson was the first to address those in attendance, and recapped memories of the 14 years of education shared by many graduates, from preschool through high school. To conclude, Anderson delivered an uplifting message to her fellow classmates.

“If there is anything that you take away from my speech today, I want you to remember that each of you are important,” Anderson said. “We have all these memories to carry with us for the rest of our life, because each one of us contributed to our story in some way or another. The class of 2022 is a family, it is my family.”

Anderson encouraged her fellow students to keep in touch with each other as a family would.

“Next year, when the missing creeps in, let yourself take a walk down memory lane,” she said. “Don’t hesitate to call your parents. Call your friends, or even a classmate – because these memories don’t disappear when we graduate, and these people don’t either. We have both for the rest of our life. We have Ross Beatty for the rest of our life. We have the class of 2022 for the rest of our life. Here is to the rest of our lives.”

Valedictorian William Poitras spoke next, with a message of resilience.

“The only things that are impossible are those we tell ourselves we cannot achieve,” he said. “Every day, we tell ourselves what we can and can’t do, what we are and what we are not. We hold ourselves back every single day. The truth of the matter is that each and every one of you seated here today is capable of amazing things.”

Poitras said the struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic, teacher changes, administration changes and an educational system change has prepared this class for any challenge ahead.

“You will be faced with many challenges, no matter what path you choose,” Poitras said. “Some challenges you may feel you can’t bear. You will be influenced to give up. You will feel like you just can’t do it like you aren’t worthy, or not capable. Don’t give up, don’t give in to that temptation to take the easy way out.”

He added he has given in to the temptation of giving up, and advised any classmate who does the same to use it as a learning experience.

“Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to learn how to soar among the clouds,” he said. “You may be your own worst enemy, but you can also be your own greatest ally. As long as you believe in yourself and your resilience, and trust that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to, anything is possible.”

Alumni speaker Tina Law offered her perspective as well.

“You are always one decision away from changing the course of your life,” she said. “You made it here, just imagine where you can go next. Take the reins and make the best decisions you can make.”