Approximately 135 students from the Cambridge High School (CHS) Class of 2022 celebrated their accomplishments and achievements and were recognized at the 150th Cambridge High School Commencement on Saturday evening.
At the ceremony, CHS Principal Jason Bunting recognized five graduates who intend to enter the United States Military, 32 senior members of the National Honor Society, 23 scholar athletes, 53 students who graduated with Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude or Summa Cum Laude distinction, and 36 students who earned an honors diploma.
Bunting also recognized 61 students who indicated they will continue their education by enrolling in college including many who have taken advantage of the post-secondary enrollment options through local colleges to earn nearly 450 credit hours.
That group includes two seniors – Patrick Hodges and Kara Loader – who have already earned their associate degrees from Zane State College.
In addition, 23 members of the Class of 2022 made a career choice pursue vocational education at the Mid-East Career and Technology Centers, many going into the workforce upon graduation.
Participating in the commencement ceremony was 13 students who earned a 4.0 grade point average and are ranked number one in the class. Those students include Amanda Biddle, Makena Brown, Ava Byerly, Kayden Ellis, Camryn Gebhart, Ziciah Gibson, Brady Hannon, Patrick Hodges, Kiersten Keith-Hill, Azlyn LaFollette, Kara Loader, Jenna Murrey, and Adam Smith.
Six of those students chose to address their classmates with inspirational messages.
Kara Loader described the past four years and the challenges her and her classmates endured during a global pandemic.
“These past few years have felt like an endless sequence of tsunamis,” Loader said. “Our beach was supposed to be calm, the water just right, but that just wasn’t what life gave us. During our high school experience, we have all gone through something unimaginable. Our whole world stopped, and we lost so much.”
“We all made it out one way or another, for better or worse, and each and every one of us persevered through our own hardships to make it to this point,” Loader continued. “You found a way to make it through, even when the cards felt stacked against you, when you felt like there was no one there for you, you did it. You made it through. Feel Proud. Don’t be afraid of the storm, you have conquered it before, and you will do it again.”
Kiersten Keith Hill and Brady Hannon inspired their classmates with messages about change.
“John F Kennedy once said, ‘Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the future.’” Keith-Hill shared. “The way we live our lives starts now, and we are in total control. I have faith that our futures will become what we make of them, and through the changes, we will push forward and achieve our goals.”
Brady Hannon shared the same quote from JFK and encouraged his classmates to adapt to change.
“So everyone, go live your lives, push through the changes just like you have all these years,” Hannon said. “Build the future you want.”
Adam Smith talked about how he enjoyed the journey of the past four years and how he will cherish the memories.
“It is about the journey not the destination,” Smith said. “The journey is truly the best part. The sad part is, by the time you realize it, the journey is usually over.
High school has been a roller coaster, with hills, turns, drops, and plenty of loop-da-loops,” Smith continue. “But much like on a roller coaster, they helped to make the experience more fun. I hope that everyone is able to remember to be present and enjoy the moment.”
Camryn Gebhart also talked about the journey focusing on the journey ahead.
“As a graduating senior, I could not be more happy to embark on this journey ahead,” Gebhart said. “I’ve bled blue and white since the day I was born, and I plan on sticking around. I hope you all find your true selves wherever that may take you and if you ever need anything you know where to find me.”
Ziciah Gibson also focused on the journey of the future.
“At the end of our careers as students, we have an opportunity. Now, is our time to take on the world, to find and pursue our passions,” Gibson said. “Wherever your future takes you, let it take you somewhere.
“We are about to embark on this journey called life,” Gibson continued. “Everything we accomplish in the next few years should be taken as starting points to further our achievements. Today, our graduation should serve as a launching point, projecting us in the direction our futures are meant to take us…. always remember the opportunity to achieve greatness is within our grasp.”
The CHS band under the direction of Ricky Harvey and symphonic chorale led by Aaron Todd, also participated in the ceremony. Board members Amy Kissinger, David Peoples, David Evancho Dave Gray and Ron Miller presented diplomas.
A parade of students and families drove through Cambridge following the ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of the students.