From Makayla Abernathy to Elliana Zelman, and 312 other names in between, family, friends, educators, administrators and a host of other supporters turned out Friday night, May 27, to celebrate the graduates of Wakulla High School’s Class of 2022 at the school’s stadium.
Student speakers included Madison Copeland, senior class secretary; John Foreman, senior class president; salutatorian Samantha Piotrowski, valedictorian Stephen Hartwein, and Erin Hill, senior class historian.
Brooke Brannan, Sara Chipps and Gabriella Jacobs performed Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” and Madison Spell sang the national anthem. Mackenzie Clark, senior class secretary, led the pledge of allegiance. Lily Stolk, the senior class vice president, announced the presentation of colors by color guard members Robert Babcock, Katlyn Cantrell, Austin Weinman and Vincent Walsh.
Foreman praised his classmates, gathered in their “fancy tribal outfits,” for their gift of imagination and their ability to learn. He urged them to ambitiously pursue their wildest dreams because they are destined for greatness and “have the power to change the world.”
Wakulla High School Principal Michele Falk urged the graduates to pursue their goals, and to “go out in the world and make it happen.”
Piotrowski told the graduates that many of them have known each other since kindergarten. “That is the beauty of a small town,” she said.
She spoke of competing on Brain Brawl teams since seventh grade, and returning to competition after pandemic restrictions eased to find herself the oldest and only female member of her school’s team, which she described as “a group of nerds who know a lot of random facts.”
She said this “ragtag bunch of dorks” are some of the best friends she has ever had.
She urged her classmates to find their passion, whether it be in starting a family, space exploration or performing on Broadway, and show everyone that Wakulla County can change the world: “Go War Eagles!”
Valedictorian Stephen Hartwein read “Green Eggs and Ham,” and thanked his family, teachers and coaches for their support: “I know I can be annoying,” he said. He thanked his mom for all of her support and guidance.
In her closing remarks, Hill said she felt emotional because she felt as if she were leaving her home – not the building.
“It’s my class,” she said.