PHOTO STORY: Cassopolis graduates Class of 2024

Published 3:59 pm Monday, June 3, 2024

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CASSOPOLIS — Thursday evening, Cassopolis High School seniors donned blue and white robes to close the chapter of their high school experience.

Cassopolis Public Schools hosted a graduation ceremony for the Class of 2024 Thursday, May 30 in the school gymnasium. The event featured speeches from top students and an alumni guest speaker.

The first of two student speakers was salutatorian Ella Smith. In her speech, she thanked her classmates for four years of memories.

“I want to thank this whole community for making high school truly ‘the best four years of our lives’ and I want to personally wish every single one of you good luck in whatever you decide to do with the rest of your life, your journey is just beginning, and as sad as this is to leave, i’m so grateful to have had something that makes saying goodbye this hard. Congratulations to us all, thank you to the class of 2024 for all the unforgettable memories. In the famous words of Doctor Seuss, ‘don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.’”

Next to the podium was valedictorian Atyanna Alford. She thanked the Cassopolis community for its support and said growing up in the village has been “a blessing in disguise.” 

“This tiny town with our one stoplight, three food options and one grocery store has made us all become so close. 75 percent of our class have been my close friends since before I can remember. We all grew up together. Let’s not forget where we came from. Cassopolis is our home and we will always be able to come back to it no matter what. Everything that we have gotten through together here has really pushed us to where we are today.”

She closed her speech by encouraging her classmates to not be afraid to fail on the road to success.

“We have all grown, not just in knowledge but in spirit. We have learned that success isn’t all about grades or accolades, but about the difference we make in the lives of others. Our potential in this world is like the stars in the night sky, vast and limitless. As we move forward, let’s carry the light of these experiences to guide us. Let’s not be afraid to dream big, take risks, and stand up even taller after every stumble. The world is waiting for us and I have no doubt that we are ready for that.”

After the student speeches, the district introduced alumni speaker Bernard Thomas, a former Cassopolis standout who went on to have a successful coaching career at Dowagiac and Cassopolis which included a 1990 Class B state title while at Dowagiac. Following speeches, Principal Lindsay Gorham-Pflug, Superintendent John Ritzler and members of the school board presented the graduates with their diplomas and wished them well as they entered the next chapter of their lives.