RACINE — “In the face of adversity, no matter how intimidating it may seem, it is important to remember something — in order to be great you have to be good; In order to be good, you have to be bad; In order to be bad, you have to be doing something,” said Southern High School Class of 2021 Valedictorian Kyler Rogers in his address during Sunday’s commencement ceremony.
“We fall down for a reason, and it is to pick ourselves up and prove our strength, in the name of our hearts’ desires. Mistakes are simply building blocks to what we can achieve when used effectively,” added Rogers.
The valedictorian concluded, “Do not be discouraged by the thought of failing to succeed, because you cannot ensure your destiny if you stop chasing what you want. There is no such thing as perfect, but there is always progress.”
“Everyone makes jokes about if you blink your eyes these four years of high school will be over,” said Salutatorian David Shaver in his address. “Today I realized that is very true. If I were to change one thing in my high school career, it would be to go back and appreciate every moment I had a little bit more.”
“This has been an amazing journey, but it’s not over for us, it is just beginning. I think all of us have opportunities to do great things in life and our graduation is a great step forward,” said Shaver.
Following the addresses was a special presentation in memory of Jordan Lee Hardwick, a member of the class of 2021 who passed away last fall. Hardwick’s parents Becky Birt and David Hardwick were presented with her diploma, as well as the Larry R. Morrison Female Athlete of the Year trophy for their daughter.
Part of the tribute read by her classmates stated, “As the school year passes we will find some comfort in your memory because thoughts of our time together are the best memories anyone could have.” The tribute referenced the traditional yearbook titles of “most upbeat attitude”, “most likely to cheer you up”, “best smile because it could light up a whole room”, “most rotten because you always had something to say” and more, stating that Jordan was the only nominee in every single category.
The Class of 2021 marched in to the traditional Pomp and Circumstance for the graduation and commencement ceremony held at Roger Lee Adams Memorial Field.
The welcome was given by graduate Kylee Rife, with the invocation by National Honor Society President Natalie Harris. Class President Jayden Johnson led the Pledge of Allegiance. Johnson also led the turning of the tassels. Class secretary-treasurer Kristin McKay gave the benediction.
National Honor Society members for the Class of 2021 included, Natalie Harris, Kristin McKay, Abigail Rizer, Kyler Rogers, Caelin Seth, and David Shaver.
Class of 2021 graduates receiving an Honors Diploma included: Gracie Boso, Jaden Connolly, Arrow Drummer, Natalie Harris, Natalie Harrison, Jayden Johnson, Kristin McKay, Jacob Milliron, Abigail Rizer, Kyler Rogers, Caelin Seth and David Shaver.
Honorarians for the Class of 2021 were Valedictorian Kyler Rogers, Salutatorian David Shaver, Claire Bradbury, Arrow Drummer, Kylie Gheen, Natalie Harrison, Jayden Johnson, Ryan Laudermilt, Kristin McKay, and Caelin Seth.
Southern High School Class of 2021 graduates included:
Christopher Chase Bailey, Stephanie Lilliana Rayne Black, Gracie Nicole Boso, Claire Olivia Bradbury, Corbyn Lee Clark, Jaden Lacy Connolly, Shayna Lee Connolly, Stacey Nicole Crouso, Tyler Bryant Day, Arrow Fisk Drummer, Kylie Danielle Gheen, James Matthew Hall, Jordan Lee Hardwick, Natalie Shea Harris,
Natalie Lacy Harrison, Alivia Michele Heldreth, Brady Alexander Gregory Huffman, Ethan David Johnson, Jayden Hunter Johnson, Ryan Thomas Laudermilt, Karter Jean McCoy, Kristin Lorraine McKay, Jacob Alan Milliron, Jacob Alan Monn, Ethan Dylan Mullen, Paxton Pryce Neutzling, Abigail Marie Northup,
Jaxon Ryan James Ohlinger, Alysen MacKenzie Reitmire, Austin Lee Boyd Rice, Skyler Austin Cole Richards, Kylee Ann Rie, Abigail Leigh Rizer, Kyler Richard Rogers, Bradley Alexander Roush, Kyeger Blaze Roush, Caelin Rilee Seth, David Gregory Shaver, Norman Grant Smith, Joshua Phillip Stansberry, Lance Andrew Stewart, Mallory Shania Stover, and Gracelyn MaKayla Taylor.
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Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.