BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Superintendent Shawn Ryan didn’t look at a single transcript before sitting down to this year’s Top Scholar breakfast.
“I don’t know you by your grades,” said Ryan, honoring the top 28 Clarkston Community Schools graduating seniors, April 30. “Where I see you is on the stage, on the athletic field and in 101 different places you as students have expressed yourselves.”
Their season to celebrate is just starting, with classes done on May 21 and graduation, June 3, Ryan said.
“You are blessed with an amazing amount of gifts – knowing you are strong in the classroom, knowing you have an amazing families, knowing you have interests outside of that classroom. Nurture all of it,” he said.
The Top Scholars from Clarkston High School and Renaissance High School are Jack Anderson, Seth Bacon, Lewyn Beernink, Megan Ford, Addison Gale, Jessica Greatorex, Evan Hall, Kaitlyn Joyner, Karli Keilitz, Rachel Kociba, Marlena Komatz, Megan Lee, Lauren Grace Link, Joshua Luther, Jaclyn Marra, Megan Mayernik, Madeline Merritt, Nathan Murray, Grace Nolan, Guadalupe Sebastian Estaban-Rosas, Caitlin Sivak, Mark Sprague, Drew Stark, Mya Strayer, Olivia Thomas, Frederick John VanKleek, Sophia Wilhelm and Ryan Wycoff.
“You are literally the best and the brightest of Clarkston Schools this year. I applaud that – it takes a tremendous amount of work, grit, perseverence – all those things that as adults and parents hope will carry you through the rest of your years. The thing I admire most about the seniors is the opportunities you have in front of you are truly amazing,” Ryan said.
Clarkston State Bank hosted the annual Top Scholar recognition breakfast at Fountains Golf and Banquet Center.
“It’s a great morning for us to get out and celebrate our seniors,” said Gary Kaul, principal at Clarkston High School. “Clarkston State Bank does a wonderful job partnering with the schools. They do a great job in the community. Thank you for all you do for Clarkston Schools.”
“If you are a parent like myself lucky enough to have a senior it’s an exciting time,” Ryan said. “It’s a reflective time. It’s a scary time. Sometimes it’s even a sad time. There’s a lot of emotions you go through as you make that final approach. I encourage you to not to let this time fly by on things that aren’t important. Now is a great time because you have an opportunity to reflect on one part of your life to the next.”
He encouraged them to focus on people and enjoy the journey as they begin the next chapter of their lives.
“Relationships matter,” Ryan added. “Yes, I started as a substitute teacher and now am here. I worked hard, but it was the series of relationships. As you go through the next period in your life, I encourage you not to forget that.”
“I want you to think about all the things you want to be when you are older is happy, well-rounded, surrounded by people you love, nurturing relationships and living a life you look back and it was truly an adventure,” Ryan added. “You made mistakes, but you got through it and at the end of it all you made a difference. I encourage everyone to pursue everything that you can especially those relationships. I wish you the best of luck.”