TK Class of 2022 Filled with Perseverance and Determination

“You’ve overcome so much in the past four years,” said High School Principal Tony Petersen. “You’ve overcome setbacks and shutdowns. Experienced the pandemic and missed out on so many activities that would have been milestones in your high school experience. And you’ve experienced loss. Yet you stood strong. You’ve demonstrated grit and perseverance. And I’m proud of each of you and the resilience you’ve demonstrated. As you leave here today please know that no matter where life takes you, you'll always be a member of the TK family and you’ll forever be a TK Trojan. I wish you all the best and I’ll miss you very much.”

Teacher and coach Codie Nieder was the keynote speaker and asked the graduates how they will choose to remember this time in their lives. “We all know you went through some of the weirdest years in high school, that your experience was completely altered and of course it changed and shaped who you will become, down the road,” he said. “I ask you: how will you remember your time here and as you grow older?”

He told them their mindset is how you want to perceive their time. He spoke about three specific students who each encountered difficulties during their high school career, but persevered in their own ways.

He spoke of Carlee Larsen who broke her back. “I choose not to remember just the event, but to remember her positive attitude, her resilience of coming back to school, her friends…who helped her in the all and her determination to finish the semester and year strong.”

Then he remembered Matthew Middleton and the time Matthew lost his opportunity to compete at state wrestling his junior year, then  broke his wrist before football season. “Once again, I refuse to just remember that. I choose to remember his determination and perseverance his Senior year to ensure what was taken away from him one year wasn’t going to happen the next. I choose to remember his teammates pushing him in practice to make sure he was locked in and ready to compete, and he did, placing this year in state.”

“And lastly, remember the time Michael Blair was in a freak accident and for a moment we weren’t sure of the outcome? I choose to also remember how much of a fighter Michael was, determined to get back to full strength. I choose to remember his family never leaving his side, updating all those who care about him. I remember his friends Grant and Carson Woods helping me make ‘get well’ cards for him. And I will remember Michael sitting right here with you today, walking on this stage, and graduating.”

He told seniors to “don’t ever forget how resilient all of you are. Don’t forget that when you need motivation to look at all the other classmates who fought the same battle you did, with perseverance.” And he encouraged seniors to live in the moment and create memories so they’ll be able to say, “remember the time…”

Senior Skylar Peck also talked about time in her address to her classmates. “We’re growing up 2022. This is the butterfly stage of our life. We started as caterpillars, moved slowly into cocoons, and now we’ve reached the time where we become butterflies,” she said.

She asked her classmates for help with her speech, asking them what they were most proud of during their time at TK. “The senior class of 22 is most proud of becoming the people they were meant to be and embracing who they truly are, being able to help others know they have someone to reach out to when they are struggling, learning what it means to be a leader, being able to participate in the younger kids’ live and spreading positivity with every step through the day and making sure to lift others up.”

She shared her own words of encouragement for her classmates. “Live your life. Don’t be so worried about who’s watching and judging you. Make your mark on the world…Be grateful and appreciative, be humble and kind, be selfless, be courageous, be patient, be forgiving, be the person that has so much determination that they go after what they want. Dream something big, and go get it. I believe in every single one of you to make that dream come true…Congratulations class of 2022, and just like the butterfly, it’s time to leave the old behind to begin anew and soar.”

Senior Matthew Middleton addressed the class to begin the ceremony. “To my classmates: Today we say goodbye to a place that’s helped shape who we are. As much as we all say we are glad to be done and out of here, we all can admit this place has made an impact on us…Here is to the adventures, friendships and memories to come as we each continue on our own individual paths. However you personally  define success and happiness in life, I hope you find it.”

Ryan MacKellar echoed similar sentiments in his closing remarks. “No matter where your lives take you, I have faith that you will all be successful in your own ways. Congratulations, best of luck, and enjoy the next chapter of your lives. You’ve all earned it.”

Rachel MacKeller then led the graduates in the tassel ceremony and the tossing of their mortar boards high into the air. Immediately the school fight song began to play and graduates embraced their classmates, sure to remember this time in their lives. 

High School Principal Tony Petersen said he was proud of this class for all they’ve come through in the past years and still persevered. And he reminded them, “You will forever be a TK Trojan.”