By Woodrow Polston
Seniors of the Van-Far graduating class of 2023 were joined by friends and family on Sunday for their graduation ceremony in the Van-Far High School gymnasium. Superintendent John Fortney welcomed everyone to the event.
“We are excited that you could be here today,” said Fortney. “Congratulations to the class of 2023. It has been a long road filled with both challenges and triumphs, but you have made it through. I would like to share a quote with you from the legendary basketball player Michael Jordan, who said, ‘I have failed over and over again in my life and that is why I have been successful.’ This quote highlights an important lesson, in that failure is not the opposite of success, but rather a necessary part of the journey. You will undoubtedly face setbacks and disappointments in the years to come, but it is important to remember that these moments can be valuable learning experiences. It is how you respond to failure that defines you, so do not be afraid to take risks and make mistakes. As you leave high school you will be faced with big choices. Some of you will go off to college, others may enter the workforce and other paths. Whatever you choose, remember that your success is not something defined by your accomplishments, but by your character, values and impact on the world around you. One last thought. You are capable of achieving great things, but you don’t have to do it alone. Surround yourself with people who inspire and challenge you and do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Remember, success is not a solo journey, but a team effort,” he added.
Teresa Winders introduced Salutatorian Madelynn Caldwell and Valedictorian Mara Jensen, who both gave a speech they had prepared. Sam Utterback announced the George Washington Carver awards, which were presented to Madelynn Caldwell, Abigail Carlyle, Mersade Ehler, Kayleeonia Heck-Preston, and Mara Jensen. College Preparatory Honors were given to Abigail Carlyle, Mara Jensen, and Vivian McFadden. After the presentation of the A+ class, seniors took to the stage to receive their diplomas. High School Principal Blaise Stuedle congratulated the graduates.
“Congratulations to you all,” said Stuedle. “It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with you as a teacher and as a principal for the last six years. As you go off to your next adventure, remember that you will always have a home here at Van-far. I wish you all the best, and if there is ever anything that I can do to assist you in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out,” he added.