WAVERLY — The sun shined down on the Class of 2022 at Waverly Memorial Stadium on Friday as they bid farewell to high school and began a new chapter of their lives.
Waverly High School’s 92 graduates threw their caps in the air as bleachers full of families and friends watched on.
After an unprecedented couple of years, Valedictorian Kaden Wheeler and Salutatorian Sydney Nierstedt remained resilient throughout their time in high school.
“Four long years of high school and now we are focused on our future,” said Nierstedt. “Looking back to freshman year, I was so oblivious. We all were. We had no idea how high school would go, what friendships we would make, what path we would choose for the future.”
“Until now it’s all been planned out; what classes we took, what teachers we had, the sports we chose to play,” she added. “Throw some unexpected quarantines in there, and the majority of our lives have been mapped out. Our parents and guardians have been there supporting us, making sure we made the right choices.”
Wheeler, who was also class president of the Class of 2022, praised what it means to be a Waverly Wolverine.
“We all face challenges every single day. Sometimes, we have no idea what the person next to us is going through,” he said. “Reach out that helping hand, say a simple hello or how’s it going, be a Wolverine. We care, that’s what it means to be a Wolverine.”
Nierstedt noted the changes that come with this next stage of life.
“Change is both exciting and terrifying at the same time,” she said. “It’s exciting to meet new people and see new places, but it’s scary to not know if this change is what’s best for you.”
“This is where passion comes in. If you’re passionate about what you are doing, you won’t regret the choices you made,” she added.
Wheeler gave advice to his class. “Football and track were some of my favorite memories of high school, and I didn’t even begin them until my senior year,” he said. “There are so many ways you can get involved in this great school and community, just find one.”
The class also paid respects to a fellow classmate, Summer Lowery, who passed away in April.
Nierstedt ended her speech with wise words to her class. “We’re resilient. Look what we’ve all been through with COVID,” she said.
“We still made it to this field today, we’re still graduating. When you leave here, do what makes you happy, find something you’re passionate about, and never give up.”