On June 10, 2022, Cedarcrest High School (CHS) held its Twenty-Ninth Commencement Ceremony for the Class of 2022. This was the first CHS Commencement Ceremony held indoors since 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. After the 2020 drive-thru graduation celebration, and the outdoor ceremony held at Red Wolves Stadium at Cedarcrest in 2021, graduates, their families, CHS staff, and district administrators and guests all returned to the Overlake Christian Church for an in-person and more traditional graduation ceremony.
Following CHS band’s performance of “Pomp and Circumstance,” which played as graduates filed in and took their seats, and the Cedarcrest Choir’s performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” CHS Principal Ray LaBate welcomed everyone to the ceremony.
He opened his remarks by paying tribute to Jodi Carr, the Attendance Secretary and manager of the Health Room and In-School Suspension Room. Carr sadly passed away days before the ceremony after battling a lengthy illness.
“Jodi Carr has been greeting students at Cedarcrest for 14 years,” LaBate shared. “Jodi is one of the kindest, gentlest souls you would ever meet. Jodi and her husband and their four children are our Cedarcrest family, and all her children graduated from Cedarcrest High School. Jodi was a fighter and always a very positive person. I literally never saw her in a bad mood.”
A moment of silence was then held in remembrance of Jodi.
The ceremony was hosted by CHS Senior Class President, Celia Stumbles, and Cedarcrest ASB President Olivia Hillestad, as student performances and speeches preceded the announcing of graduates and the presentation of diplomas.
“This class has shown incredible tenacity, kindness, and dedication. I cannot wait to see all the amazing things the Cedarcrest Class of 2022 accomplishes in life,” said Stumbles.
Jasmine Bodis opened the student mu
sical performances with a flute solo of “Les Folies d’Espagne.” Emma Bustamente and Mandy Holyfield performed a duet of Jason Mraz’s “Have it All,” followed by Griffin Le Blanc’s performance of an original ballad entitled “Gravity.”
Prior to the presentation of student diplomas, the Cedarcrest Choir performed “Fly Away Home,” which featured solo performances from the group’s seniors. In between each student musical performance, speeches were shared by several of this year’s Valedictorians and Salutatorians.
In the first student speech, “Growing through Challenges,” Valedictorians Sonja Blycker and Sayna Takezawa and Salutatorian Natalie McCabe talked about all the things they have learned from each other and their classmates, while reflecting on collective challenges the Class of 2022 shared during their four years together.
“To broaden our view of the world, you must also be actively open to conversation around the deeper aspect of ourselves,” said Blycker.
Valedictorian Ryan Carlson and Salutatorian Elizabeth Monk next spoke about collaboration.
“Collaboration is a process which will always involve taking risks,” shared Carlson. In discussing his experiences in joining band and stepping outside of his comfort zone, he added, “When I took that step to work with others, I was met with countless helping hands. I expected ridicule, but what I gained was a support system and a passion for music.”
Stumbles was joined by fellow Valedictorians Malia Swingle and Parker Jeanes, sharing a speech entitled “Be Present,” where they reminded graduates the importance of living in the moment and not leaping forward to next steps…at least not quite yet.
“It is imperative that we give our present selves a voice by not thinking about the ‘What If’s’ of the past or the future, but what is right in front of us,” said Swingle.
Next, Mr. LaBate presented the class to Riverview Superintendent, Dr. Anthony Smith, and Dr. Smith certified all state graduation requirements have been met by the Class of 2022 and proudly congratulated them.
In presenting the student diplomas, Riverview School Board Directors Lori Oviatt and Danny Edwards were joined by Mr. LaBate, Cedarcrest Assistant Principal Mike Ruhland, and Dr. Anthony Smith, as graduates were announced by school counselors Aaron Clifford, Margaret Russ, and Kim Sheely.
Once again, please join us in celebrating and congratulating the Cedarcrest High School Class of 2022!