Con[GRAD]ulations: Central and Stevens seniors enjoy a well-earned celebration

RAPID CITY, S.D. — It’s a monumental milestone for any teenager – high school graduation.

All the pomp and circumstance was on full display Sunday at the Monument’s Summit Arena as seniors from Rapid City’s Central and Stevens High Schools completed their ceremonial right-of-passage.

“This is an exciting day,” says Dr. Lori Simon, the superintendent of Rapid City Area Schools. “This is the day that our seniors have been working towards, and today they get to celebrate and we get to celebrate with them as they graduate officially from high school.”

Emotions were running high as the class of 2022 said their goodbyes.

Img 3310“I think we’re all just kind of shocked, because all of us have gone together for all four years,” says Kaitlyn Thormahlen, a Central graduate. “So it’s really sentimental and it hasn’t hit us yet that hard, but I know for a fact, when you’re walking across the stage, you’re going to be like, dang, it’s over, like we’re done.”

“Today is rather bittersweet for me,” says Hayden, one of the Stevens graduation speakers. “While it is undoubtedly exciting to mark our new adventures, it is also saddening that we leave behind the experiences and memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

High school is hard enough on its own, but these graduates also took on COVID – and came out stronger on the other side.

Ella Steen, a Central graduate, says, “I think with COVID, it made us as seniors go even more all-out, because we didn’t really have a junior year to do anything. So I feel like it made our senior year even more special.”

Their right-of-passage marked with the support – and advice – of parents, educators and friends.

“Remember what you’ve learned here. Remember what your families have taught you and whether you’re going off to the world of work or whether you’re going to some sort of training or college, all the best. Take it seriously and make your families proud,” Dr. Simon says.

“Take in everything; don’t take anything for granted and just live it up. You’ll never get these moments back,” Thormahlen adds.

“They mean it when they say high school really does fly,” says Nevaya Cuny, another Central graduate.

The next generation is now taking their first steps into the next chapter.Img 3304

“For many today, it will be a day where tears are shed and childhoods are mourned,” says Blake Bush, another Central graduation speaker. “I would urge you to instead revel at the endless opportunity before you.”

Congratulations to the Class of 2022!

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