461 Saline High School Graduates Venture Into The Future
461 Saline High School graduates ventured into the future Friday, as Saline Area Schools celebrated the graduation of the class of 2022.
The 154th graduating class from Saline High School marked the occasion on a sunny, warm and blustery day at Hornet Stadium.
Eight members of the graduating class graduated in the morning, as the rest of their classmates attended graduation rehearsal. Several senior members of the Saline High School track and field team chose to graduate in the morning so they could travel to East Kentwood for the MHSAA Division 1 finals meet.
The regular ceremony was held at 6 p.m.
After the class entered Hornet Stadium, the program began with Sophia Merkle and Joseph Day singing The Star Spangled Banner.
After that, senior members of the Chamber Choir and Chamber Orchestra Seniors, directed by Sarah Price, Director of Choirs performed the class songs: We're All In This Together and See You Again.
Saline High School Principal Theresa Stager introduced the Class of 2022.
"Their academic achievement has been outstanding," Stager said.
First, she recited facts. She said Saline High School students have the highest pass rate in Michigan on advanced placement tests. The Class of 2022 featured five National Merit Finalists and 18 Commended National Merit Scholars. Of the 461 students, 206 are graduating with a grade point average of 3.667 or higher. The class earned more than $120,000 in local scholarships. 77 percent of the students will attend four-year universities and colleges, 9 percent will attend two-year educational programs. Some will attend trade schools or enter the workforce. Others have signed up for the military. Principal Stager invited those students to stand and be recognized.
Stager said the challenges overcome by these students will steel them for the future.
"Regardless of their destinations, the lessons and skills they have learned at school, in quarantine at home, and in our community will serve them well as they face their future," Stager said. "The class of 22 has maintained the level of excellence expected from our students. Their service and character are a tribute to their parents, friends, families, school and community."
Stager called the experienced she shared with the students an "exceptional four years. She said the Class of 22 showed a penchant for jumping at opportunities. The class lobbied the school to have lunch outside with lawn chairs and cornhole. Students successfully petitioned to bring back frozen yogurt machines. They took a senior skip day and found ways to have a Homecoming Dance during a pandemic. Globally-minded students brought back the Senior Capstone service trip and travelled to Puerto Rico. After two long years of the pandemic with very few, if any, concerts and theatrical productions, students brought the performing arts back to life.
"This class worked hard to leave Saline High School better than they found it for those who will walk the halls long after they're gone," Stager said, pointing to the Kindness Rock Garden created by the Connecting Club in front of the school. "The halls of our school have more color and personality than they ever did."
Stager said she was struck by the selfless and thoughtful nature of the Class of 2022.
"If I had to sum up this class in one word, it would be selfless," Stager said."The overwhelming sentiment of conversations I had with students were about the hope of creating or providing opportunities for their fellow students or improving things for the next generation of Saline Hornets," Stager said. "The future is very, very bright with every one of you in it. Knowing all of you, I am confident, you will be able to handle anything that comes your way and you will excel in all of your endeavors."
Superintendent Dr. Steve Laatsch certified the Class of 2022 met the state requirements for graduation and then Laatsch presented diplomas. He was joined on stage by Board of Education President Jennifer Steben, Principal Stager, Principal of Operations David Raft, and Saline Alternative High School Principal Carol Melcher.
Senior Class Officers Hailey Malinczak (President), Jason Chen (Vice-President), Emelia Little (Secretary) and Ava Schmidt (Treasurer) then provided the senior address, taking their classmates on a trip down memory lane before providing advice for the future. Malinczak shared a quote from the late British Prime Minister Winston Churchill: "Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts."
"I think everyone can remember a time in high school where they failed in some way, whether it was not making a sports team, getting a 61 percent on a math test or losing an election," Malinczak said. "Failure is the highway to success. If we can embrace what we learn from failure, then we will work harder to reach and exceed our goals."
After her remarks, Malinczak invited the class to shift the tassels on their graduation caps from right to left.
The classmates then tossed their caps into their air in accordance with the joyous tradition.
But the real joy was on display as the graduates left Hornet Stadium as alumni.
Below, on this page, is a gallery of smiling students.