BRIDGMAN — From beginning to end, the 63 members of the Bridgman High School Class of 2019 demonstrated that although they are all unique and different individuals, together they are one.
The June 2 Graduation Ceremony started with the traditional entrance to “Pomp and Circumstance,” with each pair of seniors doing their own thing as they met to walk down the center aisle, some with elaborate handshakes, some a short, choreographed two-step and others a formal nodding of heads or handshakes. The ceremony ended, again on a traditional note with the switching of tassels to denote the transition from seniors to graduates followed by mortarboards — some with unique, personalized tops — tossed into the air on cue.
Senior Class President Kaitlin Essig greeted the audience who filled the stands. She thanked all the family, friends and staff for their help over the past four years, singling out Class Advisors Kim Lundin and Rachel Maxwell “for teaching us how to have fun and look good while doing it.”
“We met as strangers four years ago and made the differences work … For the rest of our lives we all will have Bridgman High School in common because ‘once a Bee always a Bee.’”
Essig went on to quote the class motto, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”
She then challenged her classmates to, “Take your mark, get set, let’s graduate!”
Superintendent Shane Peters recognized Class of 2019 which, he said, had over the past four years reached “new levels of achievement and responsibility.”
He thanked the family and friends that guided them and will continue to help and support them through this period of transition. Peters then continued his own graduation tradition of passing on the words of “Desiderata” by poet Max Ehrmann which he heard as a high school graduate 31 years ago. The poem includes advice such as, “speak your truth quietly and clearly,” “listen to others” and “be yourself.” He then wished the class a life full of happiness and success and said, “Go Bees.”
Madison Granzow gave the first of two senior addresses by noting this “exciting, scary day” marks a move away from the familiar into the unknown. She urged her classmates to take comfort in knowing they are all together and will share the memories and common experiences forever.
Granzow thanked the parents and others present for their advice and encouragement along the way and assured her classmates, “No matter what challenges or disappointments we face, we will be okay.”
The second senior address was delivered by Mackenzie Warren who also noted that although there were many differences among the members of the class and no matter what stresses and challenges they faced, “the Class of 2019 came together as a group when it mattered the most. What we are in the end is what matters. Don’t you forget us Bridgman High School.”
High School Principal Gerald Heath had the individual seniors stand to be recognized for their achievements and participation in the many extracurricular activities during their high school career, including grade point averages, members of sports teams, participation in Quiz Bowl and DECA and contributions to theater and band.
Heath then attested to the fact that the seniors had completed the requirements for graduation and each student proceeded to the stage area to receive their diploma from Peters and congratulations from the board of education members which include: Eric Ramso, Lisa Kiewel, JoAnn DeMeulenaere, Brad Owen, Pamela Oselka, Brad Reitz and Tishia Roberts.
Throughout the ceremony, many of seniors joined in for their final appearance as members of the Bridgman band or senior choral ensemble which were led by Band Director Cliff Reppart and Choir Director Jennifer Ammerman.
Also honored during the ceremony were members of the Bridgman High School Class of 1969. Those attending were introduced by Class Vice President Sam Polym: Tom Essig, Susan Gampel Jones, Isla Gaul Case, Michael Gorske, Alford Harding, Janice Harding Jonatzke, Roland Mabry, Lonnie Phipps, Philip Quardokus, William Reck, Jan Rokely Ansley and Gary Tiefenbach.
Class officers for 2019 are Kaitlin Essig, president; Sam Polym, vice president; Hannah Lundin, secretary, and Connor Blesy, treasurer.
The top 10 seniors are: Connor Blesy, Seth Francher, Jacob Kaspar, Mackenzie Knowlton, Hannah Lundin, Evan Moyer, Diana Nielson, Savannah Tate, Andrew Tellez and Sidney Wheeler.
Members of the Bridgman High School Class of 2019 are (*indicates honor student) are: Odin Babcock, Riley Bailey, Caleb Barker, Connor Blesy*, Skylar Bollinger, Priscilla Brinker, Christopher Brooks, Justin Brychta, Krystin Buist*, Sindy Carranza, Michaela Catania, Madison Catania*, Chanler Collard, Parker Cote*, Ashley Davis*, Kaitlin Essig*, Seth Fancher*, Kayla Fleisher*, Jacob Fulbright, Jackson Gearhart, Alec Goff*, Madison Granzow, Mykayla Hays, Nicholas Hildebrandt*, Justin Jannert, Mezei Jones, Daisy Juarez*, Jacob Kaspar*, Alexandra Kelly*, Makayla Kiel, Megan Kiewel*, Connie Klann, Mackenzie Knowlton*, Ethan Korcek, Caleb Kroeze, Derek Lausch, Hunter Lenardson, Hannah Lundin*, Tyler Marshall, Lauren McCall*, Sydney Melton*, Evan Moyer*, Diana Nielson*, Spencer Noll*, David Ott, Mason Parsons*, Sydney Payne, Samuel Polym*, Jayden Pribyl, Jared Russell, Amber Smith*, Reagan Smith*, Tyler Steinbrook, James Stevens, Christi Stine*, Savanna Tate*, Andrew Tellez*, James Thomas, Kirsten Tio, Mackenzie Warren*, Griffen Weber, Sidney Wheeler*, Macie Williamson*.