As the school year came to a close, the Class of 2022 enjoyed time-honored celebrations like the Military Commitment Ceremony, Parade of Graduates, senior picnics, and of course, commencement exercises.
Family and friends gathered at Xavier University’s Cintas Center to share this important milestone with Lakota’s 1,348 graduates. Lakota West held its ceremony on May 18, with Lakota East following on May 20.
Students took the stage for much of the ceremonies, leading the Pledge, 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. West Principal Ben Brown presented rings to salutatorians Anusha Patel and Mitchell Weckman and valedictorian Dani Shi. At East’s ceremony, Principal Rob Burnside awarded rings to valedictorian Ilyas Malik and salutatorians Connor Pletikapich and Vanessa Sims.
Superintendent Matt Miller praised the graduates for their accomplishments despite the many challenges they faced. “Your high school career has certainly been one for the history books. You have shown perseverance. You have shown strength. You have shown determination. You have shown compassion. And WE could not be prouder of you,” Miller. “Take the lessons that you’ve learned during your years at Lakota and apply them to the new adventures that await you. You can accomplish whatever you set your mind to -- and do it knowing that you have an entire community back here supporting you and cheering you on.”
The Class of 2022 had a unique high school experience due to COVID-19. Each year of their time at the main campus was completely different – an abrupt end to their sophomore year, uncertainty and a different model for education during their junior year, and a moving target of protocols and chaos for their senior year.
“But through it all, they took it in stride and persevered,” said East Principal Rob Burnside as he presented his seniors for graduation. “It is my hope that their journey has provided them with a resiliency that will make them perhaps the next ‘Greatest Generation’ that our world will recognize. I will miss them, and I am thankful to have gotten the unique opportunity to stand in front of them on both their first day and again on their last day at Lakota East.”
As West Principal Ben Brown presented his 701 seniors for graduation, he noted “This is a very talented and hardworking group of seniors that also knows how to appreciate things and have fun. The future is in great hands and we look forward to seeing and hearing about all their accomplishments as they start their new chapter of their lives.”
At West’s ceremony, graduates Chelsea Afadzi and Yash Tibrewal closed out the evening with the turning of the tassel tradition. At East, following the words “Hawks, it’s time to fly!” streamers and confetti filled the air, celebrating the Class of 2022.
Statistics about the Lakota Class of 2022 include:
Graduates: 1,348 (647 East, 701 West)
Graduation rate: 97.1%
Pursuing higher education: 78.5%
Military commitments: 24
Honors diplomas: 25.2%
Congratulations and best wishes to all of Lakota’s newest alumni!