Those addressing the graduating class at Prairie Central High School’s commencement Friday evening offered some words of advice.
“Appreciate the small things in life when you’re feeling anxious,” said PC valedictorian Irene Wilken.
Wilken started her speech by admitting she felt unqualified to give advice so she chose to talk about what she does know rather than what she does not know. This is when she started to recite math problems and other educational facts.
During her time in school, Wilken has learned there is no such thing as too much practice and that little nuggets of wisdom obtained in school are invaluable in life. She thanked all of the teachers for making the students what they are today.
“I learned even more through the careful guidance of teachers and staff,” Wilken noted.
Wilken attributed her ability to speak at graduation to a “culminating” accomplishment of teachers and staff. She suggested to her classmates that they all be mentors to others as teachers and staff were to them.
“God be with you until we meet again,” Wilken concluded.
Salutatorian Lincoln Steidinger said his speech was meant as a welcoming address.
“With that thought, hello and goodbye,” Steidinger joked as he started to walk away from the podium.
On a more serious note, Steidinger reflected on the precious number of years his classmates have had together, with everyone having a proud smile on their faces in academics or other activities. After reaching a peak, he told fellow graduates another one stands high in the distance.
“May God Bless America and the Class of 2022 and in the wise words of Mr. Willi, it’s a great day to be a Hawk.”
Senior class president Whitney Hetherington presented the farewell address, thanking everyone who has supported her class.
“High school was fun but we have turned a page,” she said.
Hetherington has found that four years of high school can be described as long or short, suggesting others should create the right opportunity instead of always waiting for it.
“Go out there and make it happen,” Hetherington told the class.
Superintendent Paula Crane told those attending Friday’s graduation the school is proud of the graduates as this is an exciting time in their lives.
“Your years here at Prairie Central have prepared you well. We are anxious to see what lies ahead for all of you.”
PCHS principal Wade Czerwonka welcomed everyone to the ceremony, recognizing the board members, administrators and faculty in attendance. Czerwonka presented the 93 seniors in the PC class of 2022.
Students Ayva Alvarenga and Eli Grabon were recognized for pursuing active enlistment in the Armed Forces. Alvarenga is going into the U.S. Air Force while Grabon will enlist in the Marines.
State scholars for academic achievement included Derek Dotterer, Garret Platz, Lincoln Steidinger, Laura Schaffer, Irene Wilken, Carson Fehr, Nathan Plenert and Andrew Slagel. Those in the top ten also recognized included Kenna Skaggs, Katy Curl, Koryn Fehr, Garret Platz, Andrew Slagel, Nathan Plentert, Laura Schaffer and Irene Wilken.
Twyla Meiss and Grant Fogarty served as guides while ushers were Benjamin Rhoda, Katie Haas, Lauren Hoselton, Taylor Kafer, Tyler Farrell, Haley Obrien, Carla Kilgus and Caleb Knauer.
Friday’s ceremony was held inside the high school gym.