by Austin Marsman
The flowers were out, banners hung, programs printed and stage set ahead of the graduation ceremony for Martin’s 127th graduating class Friday evening at the Martin High School gym.
As the ceremony proceeded, the band played the graduation march, the honor guard, comprised of junior class members, entered the gym ahead of the graduates and took positions throughout the gym. The graduates entered and walked the center aisle in pairs. A wave of nostalgia passed as those in attendance began to think of their own graduation or of fond memories with this year’s graduates.
Superintendent Dr. David Harnish began the ceremony by welcoming the community and saying a few words about the Class of 2017. Graduate Luke VanPutten then led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Keynote speaker Angela Spears is a 1991 MHS graduate, and is now working in education. Her address encouraged the graduates to be themselves and “speak life.”
Salutatorian Helena Maes spoke about facing fears head on and thanked those who made a difference in her life. Valedictorian Sara Spicer delivered a passion-filled speech containing quotes from pop culture. “We started from the bottom, now we’re here”
Cassandra Knauss-Ullrich, Katrina White, and Natalie Simpson continued the evening by sharing memories of their school days. Who could forget those corny songs in Mr. Robrahn’s sixth grade class, or the senior trip to Mackinac Island?
School board members were on hand to present the 37 graduates with their diplomas as Class Advisor Damon Blackburn read their names. Dr. Harnish was back to lead the graduates in turning their tassels.
Class President Tylor Torres participated in a long-standing tradition by passing the log book containing names of past graduates. I, as senior class president-elect, received the log book and pledged to continue the tradition.
Because of construction, the graduates received their friends and family near the baseball and softball fields. As the community gathered to congratulate the Class of 2017, the graduates tossed their caps. Cheers echoed throughout and smiles were everywhere as the feeling sunk in: “We did it!”
AUTHOR’S NOTE: It was an honor to receive the log book and I look forward to what the next year has in store! The Class of 2017 has always been special, and its accomplishments are already numerous. I have no doubt they will be successful wherever life takes them.
Congratulations Class of 2017, may your compass point you in the direction you plan and may you reach your destination with success!
PHOTO: (Courtesy of Austin Marsman) Graduates listen to keynote speaker Angela Spears.
Board Member Vince Tuinstra presents Katrina White with her diploma.
“We did it!” Class of 2017 members toss their caps.