Clarkston graduates 495 students

By Wendi Reardon Price
Staff Writer
— The crowd of 495 Clarkston High School graduates moved the tassel on their caps from the right side to the left side, marking not only the end of the 2024 Commencement at Pine Knob Music Theatre but the end of their journey with Clarkston Community Schools and beginning of a new one, June 3.
This year’s theme was – it’s the small things that build a big life
“We are here to celebrate one of the biggest moments of our entire 18 years of life,” said student speaker Scott Dobson, Jr. “Many of us, this is a sentimental one, a turning point in our lives – a pivot to what’s next. But no matter what journey we set sail on we will face it with courage and honor.
“We’ve been prepared well for, I know this because throughout high school. We have overcome many hardships all of which setting us up for the next chapter in our lives. There have been some big moments that we will remember but most of what we will miss will be the little things.
“Class of 2024 wherever we end up. It’s important to slow down and focus on those small things. Just as we’re reflecting right now on the little things that made high school so great. It will continue for us for the essential to slow down in our busy lives. Be a friend and appreciate the small things. Embrace the laughs, the deep conversations and never pass up the opportunity to share a smile. Life is too short not to.”
Superintendent of Clarkston Community Schools Dr. Shawn Ryan shared his congratulations and words of inspiration. .
“You’re going to need experiences, your individual stories. Hold on to them. Years from now you will look back fondly on this evening and you should, it’s a huge turning point in your life. It’s probably one of your biggest accomplishments so far. But, as you get older what will stick with you are the little moments because it’s what you make of the moments and who make them with is what truly matters.”
The moments we encounter shape us – every laugh, tear, triumph and setback carries a lesson waiting to be learned. Sometimes it’s not easy to identify. Especially learning from our mistakes. Sometimes the same lesson. Life will teach us again and again.
Ryan shared not to give up and to think of the bad moments or failures as the steps that will eventually get you to your goals.
“Try to use the lessons you learned to try and try and try again,” he continued. “Our Detroit Lions are perfect example of that years of roller coaster ups and downs. Well, mostly downs. It led to growth and success and it certainly wasn’t taking the easy route. The take away from Dan Campbell’s gutsy leadership if there’s one more opportunity to get it done, he will go all in. While he gave us all heart failure on several occasions, we can appreciate if they were going to go down, they were going to go down fighting. I love that. Perspective is everything sometimes the slightest change in direction or attitude can make all the difference.”
Ryan added in years to come, it won’t matter what the job title is or car you drive, but the lives you impacted.
“How you made your corner of the world a better place,” he continued.
Susan Mohr, one of the class advisors, shared to remember to be true to yourself.
“You’re stronger from your setbacks to do what you love in life to,” Mohr added. “Seek progress and to embrace change in the unknown. We wish you all the very best and a beautiful future filled with success happiness and loved ones at your side.”
The program ended with choral teacher and director Michael Peterson leading the Madrigal Singers in “A Parting Blessing,” his last as he began retirement at the end of the 2023-2024 school year.

Samantha Carpentier displays her diploma. Photo: Wendi Reardon Price

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