Hayes High School held its commencement ceremony Friday evening in Cornell Stadium and bid farewell to more than 440 seniors in the class of 2022.
Student Board of Education member Katie Hejmanowski welcomed students to the event and congratulated them on successfully completing all the graduation requirements despite having to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our circumstances may have been slightly, even dramatically different but we painted our own maps, traveled places, and burned new pathways that I’m confident will be followed by many students behind us,” Hejmanowski said. “I want every student to know that beyond everything and anything else, I am proud of us. I’m proud to be a part of the class of 2022 and of the things we have accomplished.”
Senior Molly Hornberger encouraged students to stay true to themselves as they head out into the world.
“You must stay grounded and remember what makes you you,” Hornberger said. “Don’t forget who you want to be, who you are, and to enjoy what you have.”
Superintendent Heidi Kegley told the students she’s proud of them and added they are always welcome back in Delaware.
“Graduates, I want you to know that we will always be here for you,” Kegley said. “Delaware is your home. We hope you will come back to visit and share your new adventures and accomplishments with us. I wish you the very best as you embark on your next journey. I hope you will always remember, once a Pacer, always a Pacer. I’m so proud of each and every one of you.”
The final speaker at the event was Hayes Principal Dr. Ric Stranges who said the school was thankful for a more normal year than the last two years, but he added those things were only possible because of the determination of the senior class.
“We have so much to be thankful for,” he said. “We had a full year of school. We had sports and a musical … Class of 2022, you have left a legacy of collective sacrifice for a cause we have never seen before. … You really made my year.”
Stranges said the Hayes Class of 2022 had more scholars, honor students, and students earning magna and summa cum laude recognition than ever before in its history.
“Let me congratulate you on your accomplishments, your dedication and your grit,” Stranges said. “Your four years were not what any of us dreamed of, but I promise all of that will make you stronger. It will make you more resilient and make you more grateful. … The world is in good hands with you.”