Hats off to GHHS grads

As the sun slid behind the trees west of Grand Haven High School on Thursday evening, 373 of the school's students went from being seniors to alumni. The high school's 135th commencement exercises were held in Buccaneer Stadium under a brilliant blue sky. Parents, friends and family filled the home team stands to watch the new graduates accept their diplomas. Before that, students heard from school and district administrators, and a few of their classmates.
Jordan Travis
Jun 3, 2011

Class president Noah Thelen gave a speech covering many topics — from the many accomplishments of the class of 2011 to approaching problems with confidence. He also told students to live with integrity and “love everyone you meet.” 

“In my life — and I do understand that I have much life left to live — the greatest moments of joy are times of my greatest selflessness and love,” Thelen said. “I can assure you that you will also find the most joyous moments at these times.”

Student Council member Zach Konarska also spoke to the class. He told them a story about sitting on a plane next to an old man who was reading a book about particle physics. When Konarska asked him why, the man explained to him that he never understood the topic in college, and wanted to try again. This is Konarska’s favorite reason to learn, he said.

“This school has taught us to think, to grow and to come alive,” Konarska said. “Now let’s go do that. Never stop learning and never stop exploring.”

GHHS Principal Scott Grimes was honored along with four teachers for the impact they had on their students. This is the last high school graduation Grimes will lead — he is being promoted to the Grand Haven school district’s assistant superintendent of human services.

“You’ve come a long way and we’re proud of your accomplishments,” Grimes said to the students. “It is our hope that you reflect on these experience and use them help find success in the future.”

After the graduates received their diplomas and flipped their tassels from the left side of their mortarboards to the right, they tossed their caps as the crowd cheered loudly.

Later, Hayley Keur and Jennifer Phillips said it felt “amazing” to have graduated.

“All the hard work finally paid off,” Keur said.

Phillips agreed: “I don’t have to come back anymore, so that’s good.”

Stacey Reierson — who came to watch her daughter, Claire, graduate — said it was very exciting and a little bittersweet to watch her finish high school.

“I’m very happy for her and excited that she has some great opportunities ahead of her,” Stacey said. “It was a fantastic night, and Grand Haven High School is a great experience.”

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