Three hundred and one Lakewood High School seniors marched across the stage to receive their high school diplomas on Sunday, June 2, in front of a Civic Auditorium full of their family, friends and teachers. Graduates received their diplomas from Board of Education President Linda Beebe along with congratulations from Superintendent Mike Barnes and LHS Principal Mark Walter.
Class Valedictorian Elizabeth Halko and fellow student speakers Marisa Campbell and Aurora Piotrowski gave speeches prior to the awarding of diplomas.
In her speech, "Don't Put Yourself in Boxes," Elizabeth (at right) talked how because she did not take the prescribed path to academic excellence, she was able to discover her passion for politics. She told her classmates: "Don’t fear looking into yourself, don’t fear the messages your gut sends you, don’t fear dropping everything and walking a different road, don’t fear following your passion. Let go of the idea that you must live by the story of another—learn from other’s stories, draw pieces from them, but do not copy them."
In Marisa's speech, "The End," she celebrated the closeness of the Class of 2019 and celebrated how they are all "shamelessly unique individuals, who are never afraid to be themselves." She shared that her "greatest wish for us is that we bring our individuality with us wherever we go, and continue to inspire those around us Let's not be scared of this ending, but instead bring everything we have gained from it into our new beginning."
In "Growth and the Paths We Walk," Aurora spoke about the inevitable growth she and her classmates have experienced over their four years at Lakewood High. She urged her peers to continue to grow and work toward a common goal "to not allow ourselves to be other people. Think of original things, think of the ideas that pop into your head at any time of day, not just in the deep hours of the night. Be original to your best ability..."
During the ceremony, Principal Walter recognized several special student groups including those wearing National Honor Society stoles, French Honor Society ribbons, Career Technical Honor Society medals, the eight students joining the military and the 47 students wearing Hawthorne Medals for finishing their high school careers with a 4.0 GPA or better.
The ceremony concluded with senior members of the Symphonic Mixed Choir singing "The Lord Bless You and Keep You" and then the entire class and audience joining in to sing the LHS Alma Mater.
Congratulations to the Class of 2019 graduates!