PHOTO STORY: Edwardsburg celebrates Class of 2022

Published 2:59 pm Monday, June 6, 2022

EDWARDSBURG — An event 13 years in the making took place Sunday afternoon at Leo Hoffman Field in Edwardsburg.

Edwardsburg High School celebrated its Class of 2022 with a graduation ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday. The event 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.

“Class of 2022, you went above and beyond to serve and help others,” said Edwardsburg Principal Ryan Markel. “As you graduate today and start this new season of your life, I hope you continue to develop your skills, abilities and talents that you have generously shared with Edwardsburg High School and our community. … Parents, thank you for the opportunity to educate such a talented group of students.”

The first student speaker on the stage was Salutation Channing Green. She thanked the district and encouraged her classmates to embrace learning from trials and tribulations and “fall forward.”

“Every graduate today has the training skills and talent to succeed in life,” she said. “But I ask you: do you have the courage to fail? Will you let your perfectionist self get in the way or will you take chances? While taking risks is frightening, it could also be the most rewarding thing you have ever done because the chances you take, the people you meet, the people you love, the faith that you have, that’s what’s going to define you.”

Green’s speech was followed by addresses from each of the Class of 2022’s seven valedictorians. 

First to take the stage was Madelyn Alford. While she believes the school building is not anything special, Alford said it’s what takes place inside the building that has made her Eddie experience memorable. 

“As we begin this fresh start, I urge you to look past the exterior of moments, ideas and people,” she said. “Look for the deeper meaning of life and strive to accomplish it. Don’t judge situations by their external traits but by the opportunities they have to offer. Remember to give back to the small, seemingly underwhelming community as you move on from its borders because it has given you all that it has to offer. As we grow older and our exterior appearances fade, let us not forget the internal memories that we hold together.”

Next up to the podium was Carli Hansen. While she will miss the high school experience, she is excited to see what she and her classmates accomplish next.

“As we are all about to embark on these new journeys, I wanted to share something that my gymnastics coach tells me,” she said. “She says that it’s okay to be afraid but it’s not okay not to try. I suggest pushing yourself to do things even if it’s outside of your comfort zone because it has honestly helped me grow as a person and accomplish my goals.”

Following was Shelby Hardin, who expressed that she believes the fond memories of high school will have a positive impact on her class’ future.

“All of these memories made here over the years have molded us into the people we are today,” she said. “It is these memories and experiences that will drive our future successes, whether in college and the workforce, the military or anywhere else you start your adventure. Wherever we go, we will build upon our experiences from high school and whatever profession we choose.”

After Hardin, Benjamin Miller broke down what being an “Eddie” means to him.

“Although the principles of pride, passion and purpose flashing across town may give some indication as to what makes an Eddie, the portrayal of these characteristics through my peers, educators, staff and families of everyone in this community go even further to describe in action what makes Edwardsburg truly special,” he said. “The welcome I felt into this community is something I’m confident will follow each and every one of us as we go our own ways.”

Cameron Schwindaman was the next valedictorian to take the podium and expressed his excitement for what the future holds.

“I’m excited about the new challenges ahead of me because high school paired me to face the unknown. We already have the skills necessary to achieve our dreams, the only limit being our imagination. Whether your next step is off to work, college, or military, remember that whatever you do or whatever you go, the future is up to us. It’s that success isn’t out there waiting for us, It’s already in us waiting to be earned. I wish you all the best wherever life takes you and of course, go Eddies.”

The penultimate valedictorian was Elizabeth Shirk, who thanked her classmates, teachers and staff for a memorable high school experience.

“I want to congratulate this class on everything it has accomplished,” she said. “I’m so thankful for my family and for my peers for supporting me and loving me throughout high school. As I reflect on my time at Edwardsburg, I’m so proud to be a part of this team. I’m so excited to see what the future holds for the class of 2022.”

The final valedictorian to the stage was Kathryn Shull, who congratulated her classmates on a job well done.

“We have all worked unbelievably hard to succeed in high school just to overcome the hardships these past years have thrown at us. As cliche as it sounds, know that you are capable of overcoming anything even if you don’t like to do it. Congratulations, and finally, huge congratulations to all of the parents here. Your kid made it, you can breathe, now.”

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

“Parents, family and community members, on behalf of Edwardsburg High School, I want to thank you for your support of Edwardsburg High School. The accomplishments shared today and the last four years were made possible by your continuous support.”