PHOTO STORY: Niles High School graduates Class of 2023

Published 2:20 pm Friday, June 2, 2023

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NILES — A day 13 years in the making arrived for Niles High School seniors Thursday night.

172 seniors took the field at Vikings Stadium for the 161st Niles High School commencement ceremony Thursday evening. Friends, family and community members gathered in the stands to see off the Class of 2023.

“It has been a pleasure to watch you mature,” said Principal Michelle Asmus. “For some of you that’s been over the course of 13 years and for some of you, it’s only been the last year and a half but because I have had the honor of being your principal, you will always be mine. Once a Viking, always a Viking. Make a difference, leave a mark and represent well. Congratulations.”

Three seniors – Samarah Custard, Karli Kovalak and Samuel Kaufmann – took to the podium as senior speakers addressing to give one last speech to their classmates, teachers and community.

“I know once I close out this speech and step off this stage, that’s it,” Custard said. “I will be leaving this chapter of my life and so will all of you. So take a second and remember all of the memories you hold dear to you. Remember all of the people that helped me get here. Class of 2023. Let’s do this.”

“Always remember that even in the worst case, you will survive and you will be able to push forward,” Kovalak said. “To put it simply, it’s okay to fall, just don’t fall apart.”

Kaufmann closed his speech by encouraging his classmates to see their dreams through.

“Turn to those who are around you and ask yourselves and others what’s worth doing,” he said. “Don’t hesitate. Don’t care too much about what you’re currently feeling. Don’t hesitate to put the work in. Pull a Nike and ‘just do it.’”