As the school year came to a close, Lakota’s Class of 2023 enjoyed cherished traditions that have become a hallmark of the Lakota experience. From the Military Commitment Ceremony and the Parade of Graduates to academic award nights and senior picnics -- to the grand finale of commencement exercises, Lakota's graduates bid farewell to their high school years.
Last week, Lakota’s three high schools held their respective graduation ceremonies. On May 16, Lakota Central High School kicked off the festivities at Center Pointe Church, while Lakota East and Lakota West followed suit at Xavier's Cintas Center on May 17 and May 19, respectively.
Family and friends gathered to share this important milestone with Lakota’s 1,295 graduates. Students took the stage for much of the ceremonies, leading the Pledge of Allegiance, singing the "Star Spangled Banner," performing special songs, and sharing memories and words of encouragement with their classmates. Gratitude was a common theme, with shout-outs to parents, guardians, and other family members -- as well as educators -- for their support and guidance throughout the years.
The principals of each high school served as emcees. Interim Superintendent Robb Vogelmann addressed each ceremony, offering congratulations to both the graduates and their parents and guardians. Vogelmann posed a thought-provoking challenge to the students, urging them to consider their "compass" that guided their decisions in high school and will continue to guide them in the future. Vogelmann concluded his remarks by saying, “Thank you, class of 2023, for making our school district a better place. I know you will make us all proud!”
Lakota Central celebrated its first-ever graduating class. Our newest high school, Lakota Central is designed to give students a truly personalized experience through flexible learning options. Principal Kate Joseph celebrated her 86 graduates with these words, “The class of 2023 will hold a special place in my heart and in our school not just because they were the first ones, but because of their strong-will, resiliency, and how they helped to build a culture where we can re-imagine education to truly be personalized.”
Addressing the students, East Principal Rob Burnside concluded by saying, “You’ve been a special group, and I have enjoyed watching you overcome the challenges of the last few years. Embrace today and make the most of tomorrow, knowing you will always have a home at Lakota East.”
As West Principal Ben Brown presented his 614 seniors for graduation, he noted “The Lakota West Senior Class of ’23 has been a wonderful class. They are extremely talented and full of strength and optimism. Most of all, they are kind and full of love and life!”
Each graduation ceremony concluded with the symbolic turning of the tassel, signifying the transition from students to Lakota's newest alumni.
Statistics about the Lakota Class of 2023 include:
- Graduates (walking at ceremony): 1,295 (86 Central, 595 East, 614 West)
- Pursuing higher education: 79.4% (East/West)
- Military commitments: 18
- Honors diplomas: 23.4%