It was a night of pomp, circumstance and celebration for more than 900 seniors graduating from Lakeville North and Lakeville South high schools.
In all, 910 seniors graduated from Lakeville Area Public Schools’ two high schools in 2017: 479 were from Lakeville South High School and 431 were from Lakeville North High School. Commencement ceremonies were held June 8 at Mariucci Arena at the University of Minnesota’s campus in Minneapolis.
“Cougar class of 2017, this evening is a celebration as your high school careers come to a close and you begin your life’s journeys,” said Dr. John Braun, principal at Lakeville South High School. He thanked them for their commitment, hard work and honesty. Braun said he has been most impressed by the class’s grit, resiliency and togetherness.
Lakeville South student speaker Tyler Haroldson likened the journey he and his classmates took to an airplane ride, with school staff serving in various capacities to help them get to their destinations.
“To our teachers, you were the copilots of Lakeville South and you helped us get places safely and on time,” Haroldson said. Without custodians, lunch staff, administrative staff, deans and coaches, those students’ journeys would not have been possible.
“After our freshmen and sophomore years, we broke through the clouds, became juniors and began getting the hang of things. Our classes got easier and we were actually able to hear some of the football chants,” Haroldson said. “I guess you could say we upgraded to first-class.”
“As we continued on our flight, we encountered some turbulence and bumps,” Haroldson said. “In our four years together, we tightened our seatbelts and came together to overcome the adversity we faced.”
Life, too, will be like an airplane trip, Haroldson said, encouraging students to remain adaptable and flexible when life’s “flights” are delayed or canceled or luggage doesn’t show up on time.
Lakeville North student speaker Max Omdal likened his classmates’ journeys through school to sidewalk drawings made of chalk: Memorable, and ephemeral. While sidewalk chalk artists are sad when their works disappear in the rain, they don’t dwell on the sadness but rather look forward to their next masterpieces.
“We waited for a clean canvas with excitement,” Omdal said. “We learned from the past but never clung to it. I plead with you all, do not lose this mentality. In moments of great change, do not forget to look forward as well as backward…. There is so much more to come.”
“Our tools of creation are so much greater than a mere piece of chalk,” Omdal said. “Find your new chalk and make a mark on that asphalt… Today, we’re given a blank slate, a tabula rasa, a launching point for new opportunity.”
Faculty members also had advice and wishes for students in the class of 2017.
As students go out into the world, the most important thing they can create is balance within their lives, said Dennis Dawson, faculty speaker. That includes the delicate balance between individual freedoms and social responsibility, and the balance between thinking and feeling.
“By not balancing your head and heart, that’s the No. 1 reason people stop laughing,” Dawson said. “Don’t go out and find yourself—go out and create yourself. If you’re lucky enough to find a way of life you love, my hope for you is that you have the courage to live it.”
To view the commencement ceremonies, watch Lakeville Education Television on cable access channel 188 (Charter Cable subscribers) or on-demand at https://isd194letv.viebit.com/.
DVDs of each commencement for the class of 2017 are available for purchase at the District Office (8670 210th St. W., Lakeville) during normal business hours (7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Monday through Friday). Cost is $10, with proceeds benefiting the Lakeville North and Lakeville South high school video production clubs.
Watch Lakeville North’s commencement ceremony on YouTube:
Watch Lakeville South’s commencement ceremony on YouTube:
To view a gallery of photos on the Sun/Thisweek’s website, go to http://sunthisweek.com/2017/06/09/graduation-2017-lakeville-north-and-lakeville-south-high-schools/.