SHHS Graduates 179 at Packed Ceremony

The Sweet Home High School (SHHS) saw a total of 179 students walk the stage, June 7. Among those students were six valedictorians, one salutatorian and many top 10% students. 

During this ceremony, the field was packed with families, friends, staff and even former students. The event lasted for an hour and a quarter, ending at or around 8:15 p.m. 

This year’s valedictorians were Olivia Gilmore, d’Artagna Krommenhoek, Max Klumph, Lydia Wright, Rylee Markell and Ben Tolman. With one salutatorian, that being Akria Blom. 

The valedictorians who spoke during this ceremony took turns, some taking on one speech shared with another student. Those who spoke were Max Klumph, Olivia Gilmore and d’Artagnan Krommenhoek, as well as Lydia Wright and Rylee Markell. 

The first student to speak was Klumph. Klumph began his speech with a personal shout-out to his cousin before addressing everyone from classmates to the community. 

“Welcome everyone, thank you all so much again for coming and showing your support,” Klumph said. “One of my favorite things about being a Husky is our school spirit. We all show up day after day, year after year, working to better ourselves and our school/community. We love it here.”

After sharing events and things he enjoyed throughout the years, Klumph addressed personal feelings he had about graduating high school. 

“Firstly, Joy. Joy for knowing how lucky I am to have been able to spend it with all of you.  Secondly, sadness. Sadness knowing that tonight might be the last time we see all of us together. Third and most importantly, hope. I hope that every single one of us finds happiness in what we choose to do in life,” Klumph said. “I hope that we all find something that makes us truly happy in life, and stick with it.”

He concluded his speech with thanks and acknowledgement for all those who helped him become who he is including family, friends and even school staff. 

After Klumph, attendees and graduates listened to Olivia and d’Artagnan’s speech. These valedictorians reflected on collective achievements of the class, and the overwhelming support from family and staff. 

“As we gather here today to reflect on our collective and ambitious achievements, we are filled with a sense of pride and accomplishment,” Gilmore said. “This moment marks the hard work, determination, and support from those around it; it is also the stepping stone into the next part of our lives.”

“To the ones we’re close to and the community as a whole, we cannot thank you enough for the unwavering support and pride that you hold for our graduating class,” Krommenhoek stated. 

Gilmore emphasized the importance of continuous learning: “This is the time to follow your heart and develop your dream life.”

The soon to be alumni concluded their speech with a unified, “Thank you” to everyone who supported them. 

The last speech, from valedictorians, was from Lydia Wright and Rylee Markell. Their speech was opened with the school adopted motto of; One town, one school, one family. 

“We have two families. First, we have our blood family, the ones who have watched us grow up and supported us every step of the way,” Wright said. “Second, we have our extended family: our school and community.”

“These experiences, both the highs and the lows, have bonded us as a family,” said Markell. “Families are people who care the most about us, the people who have your back and whose actions show their love.”

Both valedictorians then invited various groups of graduates to stand including student-athletes, band and choir members, those who held jobs during high school, CTE program members, club members and FFA members, showing the diverse yet unified nature of their “family”.

“This is our family,” the girls exclaimed. “Tonight is about celebrating every member of our family, every graduate, and everyone who has helped us get to this point,” Wright said.

Their speech concluded with another thanks to cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians, coaches, mentors, parents and loving families. 

Before the graduates got to celebrate the movement onto the next level, keynote speaker Ryan Adams spoke. 

Adams began his speech by congratulating the graduates.

“You all have set a foundation over the last 12 years that will shape the next +50,” Adams said. “I promise I won’t be long, but there are a few things I would like to say to all of you, one last time.”

Adams then gave personal thanks to a lot of students who gave him memorable moments throughout the school year. 

“I could go on and on giving thanks to each and every one of you and the value and influence you have had on my life,” Adams said. “But again, you all aren’t here for that.” 

After this, Adams attempted to leave the graduates with advice. 

“Again, like many of the lectures you have all sat through, this might go in one ear and out the other. But if it can resonate with one person, it is worth it.” 

Adams listed out four key points he believed were important for the graduates. Beginning with the responsibility that the graduates now held. He rounded this with a statement about being unapologetically themselves and being authentic. He highlighted the importance of relationships as well as giving thanks when given the opportunity. Adams concluded with his signature catch-phrase.

“Tonight, I say congratulations to all of you,” Adams said. “Be bold, be the good in the world, don’t forget to call home, and don’t ever forget, it is always a great day to have a great day.”