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The path to success is very rarely a direct one, as Clear Creek High School’s Class of 2022 can attest.
The 50-some graduating Golddiggers have been defined by their ability to “bounce back and make the best of everything,” as valedictorian Bridget Egan said on May 21.
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“The path to success … is all over the place,” Principal Chris Gould told the 50-some graduating Golddiggers on May 21. “You learned that. You lived it. Because these last two years have not been simple. … (Success) still came because you persevered, and you stuck with it.”
The Class of 2022 has been defined by its ability to “bounce back and make the best of everything,” as valedictorian Bridget Egan said before the ceremony.
“Today’s a pretty good example — coming here in a snowstorm,” Egan said of the late spring storm that pushed the planned outdoor ceremony into the gym. “I don’t think any of us expected this.”
Graduate Synneva Wippler and others expressed a very bittersweet feeling in saying goodbye to the friends and classmates they’ve grown up with, but excitement in starting the next chapters of their lives.
“It’s kind of a surreal experience,” graduate Cameron Jefferson said. “You’ve grown up here your entire life, and now you’re done with school. It’s basically like everybody here’s your family because … it’s such a small and close community.”
But, the Class of 2022 is full of talented, amazing people, Egan and fellow graduate Jacob Bryant both described. Bryant added that, “They’re all going places.”
For Bryant, that’s Montana State University to study finance and economics; for Jefferson, a gap year then Red Rocks Community College; for Wippler, Arizona State University to study biochemistry; and for Egan, Columbia University for biology.
The four all said they would miss participating in high school athletics and performing arts. Jefferson and Bryant both said attending prom with their friends were their favorite memories from CCHS, while Egan said it was her first race for the Golddigger ski team.
In their final messages to their fellow graduates, Wippler and Bryant encouraged everyone to work hard despite all the challenges that come their way.
“Don’t put your head down, and don’t give up,” Bryant said. “… If you want something, just work for it.”
Egan and Jefferson thanked their classmates and families for their support, with Jefferson commenting, “I love my family, and I wish nothing but the best for (my classmates).”
Egan added: “Dream big, and thank you for being there for me.”
While graduating from high school might be the Class of 2022’s greatest achievement, commencement speaker Emily Buikema hoped it wouldn’t be that way for long.
The CCHS girls basketball coach said she wanted the graduates to “find dreams that you don’t even know exist yet.”
As the Class of 2022 enters the “lifelong hustle,” as Buikema described it, she encouraged the graduates to find a support system — to help others and accept help from others.
“Your dreams are so much more significant if you achieve them with other people, and you help other people achieve theirs,” she continued. “ … You have already changed my life, and I’m just one person. I’m so excited for the countless other lives that you’re going to change because of who you are and what you stand for.”
In a final address as their principal, Gould told the graduates to remember the lessons from their family, friends and educators, and to “keep true to those lessons and keep true to yourself.”
“Seek to serve those around you; be a community, and let your past ground you as you plan for the future, but don’t ever forget that you’re in the present," Gould continued.
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