220 seniors honored at Summit High School’s Class of 2022 graduation ceremony
An overcast, albeit still bright, sky shined down on 220 students Saturday, May 28, as they walked through Summit High School’s graduation ceremony and stepped into a new chapter of their lives.
Caps and gowns were donned as the graduating seniors held a moment of silence for Memorial Day, sang the national anthem and listened to a handful of speeches before finally accepting their diplomas, officially concluding their time at Summit High School.
All of the speeches had different themes, but each spoke of the work the students had already completed and what they are sure to accomplish in the coming years.
The first welcome was from Summit High School Principal Dr. Tim Ridder. Ridder spoke of the impact the students had made during their four years of high school.
Some of those accomplishments include the girls rugby team that won its 14th straight state championship; the boys ski team that took home a state championship; and Paige Petersen who was the state champion for the giant slalom Alpine ski races.
Ridder also pointed to Lauren Quinn, who earned a National Merit Scholarship, and to the handful of students who were involved in local organizations and businesses such as the Dillon Ranger District and Copper Mountain Resort, among other achievements.
He thanked the handful of students that were planning to join a branch of the military, including William Cannon, who was already in California for Marine Corps recruit training and thus missed the ceremony.
“Thank you all for impacting our community and our world,” Ridder said. “Your legacy and expectations you have set for the future graduating classes … will be hard to match. Class of 2022, as you look into your future, I hope you see the opportunities you have, not only to be successful but to make an even great impact on the world this point forward.”
Superintendence of Summit School District Roy Crawford spoke at the ceremony, too. Crawford went off script and advised the graduating seniors to “live their lives” instead of “choosing their lives.”
“My point is, go where life takes you,” Crawford said. “You have passion, you have talents, you have skills — don’t expect your life to be a straight line where you get from Point A to Point B. When it meanders, when things happen that you don’t expect, when you take the risks, when it unfolds before you as it unfolds, that’s where the beauty is. That’s where the joy is.”
A few of the graduating seniors gave speeches too.
Taylor Tullio, student body president, pointed out that all of their lives were about to change — but that change had been part of their lives for a long time. The Class of 2022 were sophomores when the pandemic hit, and their senior year was the first year back after many restrictions were loosened for the majority of the school year.
Tullio encouraged her class to choose to grow as changes come their way.
The second student to speak was Kevin Gallagher, senior class vice president. Gallagher spoke about the changes his class had gone through throughout their four years at Summit High School and how the pandemic played a part in their education. He also spoke about his friend, Toby Gard, who died by suicide shortly after the pandemic hit Summit County.
“There was a long time where I wished so badly after he left us that I could go back to that same classroom on that same day and say a proper goodbye to Toby,” Gallagher said about his friend. “But now, I believe that that memory of us laughing together is the best possible way he could be memorialized in my mind. Wherever Toby is now, I certainly hope that he’s looking down on us in this moment.”
Heather Gard, Toby’s mother, attended the graduating ceremony that her son would have walked in. She said she knows her son had a profound impact on the Class of 2022 and that she appreciated how much the school has done to keep her son’s memory alive.
Gallagher described the Class of 2022 as a family and used the Winnie the Pooh quote to describe his high school experience: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
“Always stay true to who you are, always fight for what you believe in, never listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t, always put forth your best effort, always be kind to yourself and one another, and never forget that fortune favors the bold,” Gallagher said.
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