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Hats off to GHHS grads

Julie Angell • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:31 PM

Friends and family packed into the school’s Buccaneer Stadium and eagerly looked onto the field as 416 seniors were handed their diplomas — one by one becoming school alumni.

Scott Grimes, assistant superintendent of the Grand Haven school district, addressed the graduates by admiring their accomplishments and telling them that things worth doing seldom come easy.

The Class of 2014 certainly made success look easy as many distinguished academic leaders walked across the stage to receive their awards shortly after Grimes’ speech.

Adorned with blue sashes around their collars and purple ribbons over their hearts, Eric Vandyke and Braeton Ardell graduated with reminders of their achievements and of the faculty who helped them along the way. Both were Science Olympians and were a part of the team who took ninth place at the national tournament on Saturday. Ardell said that it was the one thing he will never forget from his high school years.

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The blue sashes around their necks were for being distinguished academic leaders and the purple ribbons were for the late athletic director, Robin Bye. The ribbons were handed out to students and faculty to remember and honor Bye.

For some students, it only took one year instead of four to be impacted by their high school experience. Foreign exchange student Melissa Diem said that although she missed her family and friends back home, it was all worth it to come here and make a new family at Grand Haven High School.

The high school’s art department enjoyed a successful year, and graduates Nick Kolenda and Seth Burton got to be a part of it. Gesturing to his Youth Arts Festival medal, Burton said that he learned to not shy away from things he wants to do, such as being an involved member of the drama club.

Class President Michaela Andrini asked her peers to not forget how blessed the students were to have such an “amazing school” as well as “a beautiful community.”

Valedictorian Karl Johnson was the last student to speak and applauded the faculty for preparing them for life ahead. He said his peers have a wealth of talent.

“We are survivors, champions, graduates,” Johnson said.


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