SLHS graduation: 193 toss their hats

At the base of the flagpole outside of Spring Lake High School, under Sunday afternoon's sweltering sun, 193 students tossed their graduation caps into the air for their last act as seniors. The SLHS Class of 2011 graduated Sunday in a ceremony in the school's gymnasium. The bleachers were packed with family and friends, who watched as the seniors walked into the gym through two different doors. The two lines - one of boys and the other of girls - met in the center and exchanged hugs.
Jordan Travis
Jun 6, 2011

Before the students received their diplomas, they heard speeches from some of their classmates.

Opening the ceremony was Ibs Hamati, the Student Council president. He told his fellow seniors about a game that he invented with a new friend; the object of which was to leave large welts on the other player’s back. The anecdote illustrated the speech’s theme of friendship, and what happens as two people become acquainted.

“As the friendship progresses, their personalities converge and identities intersect as they begin to share the advantageous traits that they discover in one another,” Hamati said. “The mark of a true friendship is when it becomes impossible to distinguish between two friends.”

Hamati concluded by wishing his classmates luck in their future endeavors, “and would like to congratulate each and every one of you on your individual achievements. Be well, my friends.”

Senior Scholar Emily Peirce opened her speech by telling her classmates that, despite the hardships they faced in school, everyone there enjoyed a high standard of living.

“Lakers, we’re spoiled,” she said — pointing out that, while others face famine or war, Spring Lake’s students live in a beautiful and prosperous place, and have the best teachers and schools.

Peirce closed her speech by saying that some people question whether this generation has any heroes.

“You all have the power to be whatever the kind of hero you want to be,” she said. “It is time for this class to make an impact, it is time for this class to be the next heroes, it is time for this class to spoil the next generation.”

SLHS Principal Mike Devlin pointed out some of the achievements the students accomplished in their final year of high school.

“This class has achieved a very high academic level — 155 out of 193 students have a 3.0 (grade point average) or higher, or 80 percent, which is our highest ever,” he said. “Their class GPA was a 3.4, 20 students scored 30 or higher on the ACT.”

After the hat toss, Joseph Wilson said that watching her daughter, Jasmyne Watkins, graduate felt “great.” While Watkins hasn’t decided where she’s going next, she is interested in becoming a lawyer, Wilson said.

“It’s good to see her grow up and advance in life,” he added.

Jenna Katt, one of the graduates, shared the feeling.

“I’m so glad to be done with school,” she said.

When asked about the future, she said she will continue classes at Baker College, admitting that she’s “scared (and) a little nervous — but I know I can get through it.”

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