‘Go Ham!’ The 2022 Class of Pelham High School holds graduation

Published 2:37 pm Tuesday, May 31, 2022

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By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer

PELHAM –It was a sea of green at the Pelham Civic Complex on Thursday night, May 26 as the 2022 seniors from Pelham High School filed into the room to complete their graduation.

Superintendent Dr. Scott Coefield opened the ceremony by welcoming everyone to the special event.

“Tonight, we share your pride as another outstanding group of young men and women reach this milestone,” Coefield said. “As those who have gone before them, we know they will represent their families, their community and their school in a manner consistent with the Pelham Way. They will make a difference, they will impact people in a positive way, and they will make our country a better place.”

Senior Class President Shawn Winn presented a speech praising the memories he and his classmates made at PHS and how those memories have helped build their character.

“Along with memories, high school has brought us challenges, and we’ve defeated them all,” Winn said. “All of the challenges we have faced and time spent working on those challenges have built our character and made us who we are. The world is full of problems that, at some point, we’re going to have to deal with. But don’t let that get you down. We’ve already done so much and there’s so much more we can do. Your success is not measured by the number of opportunities you have, but on what you do with those opportunities.”

After taking a selfie of the entire graduating class, Winn passed the microphone over to Principal Kim Kiel, who began by thanking Coefield for his many years serving as superintendent for PCS and wished him well in his newfound retirement.

Kiel praised the class of 2022 for their resiliency and determination to make it to this point. The class of 2022, she pointed out, has been through a roller coaster of trials and tribulations with the COVID-19 pandemic, and she said she was so proud of the students for defying those obstacles and making it to graduation.

“The class has experienced the most unconventional high school career ever, complete with not only closed doors, but with some doors that have been slammed shut,” she said. “You and your classmates have obviously learned to make adjustments and learned how to navigate through complicated barriers like none before you.

“Regardless of the struggle, you never gave up,” Kiel continued. “As we look back at this school year and recall of your accomplishments as the class of 2022…obviously way too many to list tonight, the examples of your tenacity are endless, but one example stands out and fits you perfectly: the Cinderella run with our baseball team. What a perfect and final legacy to leave for us.”

Pelham Mayor Gary Waters, decked out in the signature Pelham Way green, spoke a few words  also praising the students’ hard work throughout the pandemic and reminding them that hard work is the only way to succeed personally and professionally in hard times.

“I’m going to close with this, it’s a shame that we’re turning you out into the world with it being in the position it’s in now,” Waters said. “It’s a shame that you’re looking at gas prices that are at an all time high, and it appears the value of a human life is at an all-time low, but there are people in this building who are here for you. It isn’t hard, if you look, to find people who have your best interest at heart.”

Waters then had educators, veterans and people who voted in the May 24 election stand in the audience.

“These people,” Waters said, pointing at the people in the crowd. “These people are here for you.”

After a closing speech from valedictorian Landon Opitz, diplomas were distributed by counselors Brooke Self and Michelle LeSeuer. In pure Pelham fashion, faculty and staff lined up to hug and offer words of wisdom to the students as they made their way to the stage. Several students and teachers fought back tears as they said thank you and goodbye to their favorites.