Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
The WACO class of 2022 walked the stage Saturday night, finishing a high school career marked by hardship, from the polar vortex to COVID-19 to the death of a highly involved class member, who was awarded a diploma posthumously.
“I actually started writing my speech about six months ago, sitting in an airport … it had been about a month since we’d lost Jaicey,” Keynote Speaker and Art Teacher Sarah Smith said. “Senior year began with excitement and anticipation, but that was quickly cut short when everyone got that call or text. Excitement and anticipation turned into heartache and pain. Everyone found their way to cope, and push through, and found a new normal.
“Never in my life have I needed students more than those couple of months before Christmas break. You all gave me strength with your words, hugs, and tears, and your notes. It has taken me all year, but I think I finally reached the acceptance phase.”
Speaker and class Vice President Maggie Rinner said the group of 30 seniors was tight-knit.
“This class has a bond that a lot of other classes at a lot of other schools wish they had,” she said. “You guys have been my biggest support system … There’s so much love and support built between us, nothing can top that. I wish you all the best, and I’ll see you all in five years.”
The feelings piled onto an already emotional event. Superintendent Ken Crawford congratulated students on all the work that brought them so far.
“Graduation is quite an accomplishment, it takes 13 years to get to this degree,” he said. “There’s no other degree that takes this long to get … you’re sitting here because of your hard work, but also a lot of people’s hard work. Everybody involved put you in these seats and they’re wishing you the best, and I do too.”