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Students, families celebrate Spring Lake 2018 graduation

Dylan Goetz • May 21, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Senior scholar Nathan Peterson started his Spring Lake 2018 graduation commencement with a confession: “I’m a nerd.”

Peterson used this statement to explain how this year’s 2018 graduating class is “more than just some ACT scores” and “statistics on a government website.”

With two more graduates than last year, 230 students participated in the graduation ceremony on Sunday at Spring Lake High School’s gymnasium.

Twenty-six students were named senior scholars before commencement. This is the highest honor awarded in a graduating class, which is calculated using a combination of ACT scores, select courses and grade point average. Six of these students are going to the University of Michigan in the fall, and three students are still undecided.

Forty-nine students graduated with summa cum laude honors, in which the graduates maintained a 3.9 grade point average in high school. Another 37 students graduated with magna cum laude honors with a G.P.A. between 3.7 and 3.899.

Lillian Saunders, the Executive Student Council president who will be attending the University of Michigan in the fall, started the commencement with a welcome speech where she encouraged her fellow students to “cherish the moment.”

“Be brave, believe in yourself and take risks because you only have one life,” she said.

Class President Madelyn Rabideau spoke about the fears she overcame when choosing to participate in the early college program, where students can split classes at high school and Muskegon Community College to graduate high school, then graduate with an associate’s degree the next year.

She thanked the graduates for making her high school experience great, and encouraged them to “be open to all opportunities.”

Principal Michael Gilchrist, whose daughter spoke at commencement in 2017, addressed the graduates for closing remarks after the presentation of diplomas.

“Life is a test,” Gilchrist said. “Ace the test of life.”

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