Congratulations to the Class of 2018

Congratulations to the Class of 2018
Posted on 05/25/2018
This is the image for the news article titled Congratulations to the Class of 2018

class of 2018 celebratingStreamers and confetti filled the air at Xavier’s Cintas Center last week, in celebration of Lakota’s Class of 2018.

Lakota West held its ceremony on Thursday to honor its 581 graduates, with Lakota East hosting its commencement exercises the following evening for 643 graduating seniors.

Students and faculty members addressed the thousands in attendance, sharing their perspective on the Class of 2018 and what lies ahead. The valedictorians presented their fellow classmates with a new way to reflect on their time at Lakota and the future.

Lakota West Valedictorian Anna Szolwinski compared her fellow classmates’ journey to that of King Island’s Diamondback roller coaster. She thanked the Lakota staff for making the ride go smoothly, and said the time at West was characterized by countless fast-paced, exciting moments such as the girls’ basketball team winning state, the marching band performing in the Rose Parade, and the senior girls crushing it in the Powderpuff football game. Szolwinski also paid tribute to Shayna Smith, a classmate they lost during their freshman year.

She ended her speech by sharing something that Principal Elgin Card always asks of his  students… to “take care of our business.” Szolwinski said the Class of 2018 had done just that. She hopes that as they begin to tackle life beyond high school, that each of her classmates will find their sense of individuality by discovering their interests, making their own mistakes and establishing the best version of themselves. Click here to read the full speech.

Card is very proud of the Class of 2018"They have carried themselves with class during their four years representing Lakota West. We wish them the best as they move on and are excited to see what great things they do for our community, state, country, and across the world!"

Lakota East Principal Suzanna Davis shares Card's sentiments toward her own graduates. "They have left a positive and lasting impact on Lakota East High School as champions in the classroom, on the field of play and throughout our community. We look forward to watching them go out and change the world as they spread their Thunderhawk wings and soar. Congratulations on behalf of the faculty and staff at Lakota East!"

During Lakota East’s commencement, Valedictorian Weston Lindner challenged his classmates. "Every single human being on planet Earth is wrong about some things,” said Lindner. “The challenge of the human experience lies in figuring out which things those are, and changing our mind." He encouraged his fellow graduates to realize that you need not agree with someone to respect them, saying, “What if we go into every conversation, every disagreement willing and eager to be proven wrong? Imagine the power it could have."

Lindner went on to explain that there is one thing that adults like to say that is totally wrong.  “So often, we’re told that we are the future of this country. Incorrect. We are the present of this country, and don’t you ever forget that. Already, our class has not strayed away from activism, from our Orange for Change campaign to our countless efforts to raise money for causes we care about, like cancer research and hurricane relief. As we leave high school, because we are the present of this country, our actions and our core principles will define our community and nation now and for years to come; I can only hope our spirit of activism and engagement continues to thrive." Click here to view Lindner’s entire speech.

Congratulations to the Class of 2018!


A Closer Look at the Graduation Ceremonies

Click below to view our Facebook graduation photo galleries.

Lakota East Graduation Photos

Lakota West Graduation Photos


Special Graduation Ceremony Held on Monday

The following Monday, Lakota East dedicated an abbreviated graduation ceremony to Dustin Horter, who missed the one with his classmates because of weather delays at the track and field district tournament. The five-time cross country champion received his diploma in the presence of school and district leaders as the entire staff and student body gathered on Main Street.

“Dustin Horter embodies everything Lakota East is and his mark will forever be felt at Lakota East High School,” said Principal Suzanna Davis. Click here to view a video summary of Dustin Horter’s graduation ceremony.


Parade of Graduates Began the Class of 2018 Celebrations

Earlier this month, cheering students, staff, parents and members of the community greeted approximately 900 seniors from both Lakota East and West high schools as the graduates walked the halls of their elementary buildings during the second annual Parade of Graduates. Click here to watch a new video about the event that celebrates the Class of 2018 and inspires Lakota’s youngest learners to dream big.


Fast Facts about the Class of 2018

Number of Graduates1,224 (East- 643, West – 581)

Graduation rate: 97.5% 

Percent attending a 2- or 4-year college or university in the fall: 81%

Graduates serving their country in a branch of the armed services: 54

Percent earning honors diploma: 27%

Scholarships reported by students: Over $10 million