PHOTO STORY: Brandywine graduates Class of 2023

Published 6:25 pm Sunday, June 4, 2023

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NILES CHARTER TOWNSHIP — 75 students walked across the Brandywine gymnasium stage for the last time Sunday afternoon as Brandywine High School celebrated its Class of 2023 with a graduation ceremony.

The event featured performances from the high school band and choir, a speech from distinguished alumni Dennis Hinsey and speeches from top graduates.

A 1983 graduate and a former member of the Board of Education for 16 years, Hinsey spoke to the pride the community has for the district and its graduates.

“A lot has changed in 40 years since I sat in this gym, waiting for my diploma,” Hinsey said. “You are now alumni. If you get a chance to attend you’ll be able to share stories with alumni from the last 60 years. There was a tremendous pride 61 years ago when the first class walked across the stage to get their diploma and there’s tremendous pride today as we move into the 21st century stronger and more committed than ever.”

The first student speaker on the stage was Salutation Sam Douglass.

“I believe that our success is a testament to the unwavering support of our families, friends and mentors who have been with us every step of the way,” he said. They have been our rock, our compass, and our inspiration and we owe them a debt of gratitude that can never fully be repaid.”

Douglass’ speech was followed by the class’s four valedictorians – Hannah Earles, Robert Hartz, Abigail Hubbard and Brody Prenkert. Excerpts from their speeches are as follows:

Earles – “The best life lesson that high school has taught me and that is to be yourself. Be confident in who you are and embrace your flaws. We live in a world that often likes to value superficial beauty and perfection. So I want you all to remember that our worth goes beyond that – we are all unique and valuable in our own way, and we all have something to offer the world.

“We don’t have to be perfect to be valued or worthy of love and respect. Our flaws are what makes us unique and what can drive us to success because success is not about being perfect, it’s about being true to yourself  and doing the best that you can with what you have.”

Hartz – “We’ve all worked so hard these past four years through thick and thin to get to this point in our lives and I want all of you to enjoy it. You’ll be able to look back at the memories you’ve made here and all the time and all that you’ve accomplished for the rest of your life… Don’t stop now. Keep pushing forward and work towards your dreams you’ve had since you were a kid. Congratulations class 2023. We did it.”

Hubbard – “I personally would like to give a big thanks to my father, Andy Hubbard, for making me do math workbooks all summer to make me valedictorian. My biggest thanks, however, goes to the students who are sitting in front of me graduating today. I would be remiss, however, if I did not acknowledge a class member who is not here this afternoon and that is Kenny Wells, but I think we can all agree that he is here and he’s very much a part of the class of ’23.”

Prenkert – “I don’t think that a lot of us knew what to expect coming into high school and I’m not sure what we expect now moving forward. One thing that I do know is that endings are inevitable and while one door is closing, another is opening. High school is not meant to last forever and it’s time to say goodbye. However, sometimes goodbyes can be sad, so I think that we should say hello – hello to new beginnings, new adventures, growth and the future. 

“As we move forward into this next era of our lives, may we never forget what shaped us into the young, bright individuals that we’ve all become.”