Braving what’s next: Brownstown Central celebrates graduates


BROWNSTOWN — Brownstown Central High School celebrated their 2024 class of graduates on Saturday morning at the high school.

After the seniors filed into the gymnasium in pairs and found their spots at their chairs, the band opened the commencement with “Star Spangled Banner.”

“Today is an extravagant celebration of all the hard work and successes we have accumulated together as a class,” senior Megan VonDielingen said, welcoming her fellow classmates, their parents, families and friends to the ceremony.

“We have shown resilience through every obstacle thrown our way like failing tests, tough sports losses and even the pandemic that ended our eighth-grade year, and greatly altered our freshman experience,” VonDielingen said.

A sentiment that was carried throughout senior Rylee May’s speech was the words of American singer-songwriter Noah Kahan; “You’re gonna go far.”

“Class of 2024, when you leave this gym, pass these doors one last time, make it your mission to remind yourself that you have the tools to accomplish anything you dream of and you will go far,” May said.

Following May’s speech, the school’s advanced choir performed “How Does a Moment Last Forever” by Alan Menken.

Once the choir, which included some of the seniors, was finished with its song, Principal Joseph Sheffer stepped up to the podium to present the class to the school board of trustees.

Superintendent Tim Taylor and Assistant Principal Maria Conklin presented the diplomas to the seniors, each row being instructed one at a time to come up and hold what the past four years of high school have led to.

After receiving their diplomas and sitting in their seats, senior Jenna Bolte stood at the podium and led the tassel ceremony speech. The audience applauded, shouted and used an airhorn to commemorate the official moment they became graduates.

The band celebrated, too, by playing “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.

Bolte concluded the commencement with reflection on their time in high school and hope for what’s ahead. She also personally thanked every staff member as well as parents, friends and family who have dedicated their time and effort toward the graduates.

“So, Class of 2024, as we graduate, let us soar high with hope, and let our spirits be as bright and as limitless as the skies above,” said Bolte. “Here’s to our past, our today and to all the tomorrows to come. Congratulations; we did it.”

The gymnasium then filled with uproar of applause as the graduates tossed their caps high into the air, reaching toward those limitless skies.

What started as a way to celebrate the graduating class in the difficult times of COVID-19 has evolved into a tradition the school has continued. After the commencement, those who watched the seniors graduate took to the streets, setting up cars and foldable chairs to watch the high school’s graduation parade.

The streets were cleared and, headed by a firetruck and police car, the graduates drove down the street, past the courthouse, waving at those on the sidewalks and in parking spots.

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