Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
NEW LONDON — New London High School graduates held onto their caps as the wind attempted to blow them away during the commencement ceremony Sunday.
Despite the wind, the weather was beautiful with blue skies and sunshine.
Principal Scott Kracht recognized students who had achieved gold cords, for the top 10% of the class, and silver cords, for volunteerism.
Joshua Katala Santos was recognized as class salutatorian for academically finishing second in the graduating class.
The choir sang “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel” by Robert Emerson leading into the announcement of class valedictorian Seth Bailey.
Bailey readily admitted his intent to keep his speech short, and he delivered.
“Thank you to everyone that deserves it,” Bailey said with few additional words.
Following that succinct speech, Superintendent Chad Wahls introduced the commencement speaker, former basketball coach Jess Swanson.
“Today is a great day,” Swanson said. “Not a good day, but a great day.”
Despite his nerves and the wind’s powerful gusts, Swanson gave heartfelt advice to the graduating class.
“I want you to be thankful,” Swanson said. “I want to encourage you to seek good people … find your heart … always have a passion.”
“By doing something you love it’ll never be work,” he said. “By doing this, your life will have meaning and joy.”
Swanson also spoke about the importance of cultivating good relationships because they “have the power to influence, impact, and change people’s lives.”
Following the commencement speech, students achieving eight semesters of honor roll were presented with Academic Achievement Awards.
Kracht then presented the New London Class of 2022.
Crossing the walkway of the bleachers was considerably longer than an average stage, but in those moments, students and parents were allotted extra time to take in the enormity of the occasion.
As the graduates returned to their seats, they could be seen removing tassels from their caps.
With the cue, “Once a Tiger always a Tiger,” given by Kracht, the graduates threw their caps into the air and a loud tiger roar welcomed them to the next chapter of their lives.