Reaching a milestone: More than 125 BRHS students receive diplomas

BIG RAPIDS — Cheers and applause from friends, family and community members filled the Big Rapids High School gym on Sunday afternoon as they shared in the proud moment of more than 125 seniors receiving their diplomas during the 144th annual commencement ceremony.

More than 125 BRHS students participated in commencement. (Pioneer photo/Shanna Avery)

Signaled by Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” processional, graduates proudly entered the gym with a sense of accomplishment on their faces and an extra spring in their step.

During the Processional, students entered the gym to participate in the long awaited moment, graduation. (Pioneer photo/Shanna Avery)

Hailey Brock, class president, welcomed everyone in a moment she said the graduates have long waited for.

After a stirring rendition of “Rondo,” performed by the Big Rapids High School Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Arya Rao, student body mayor, introduced commencement speaker, Chris Rapes, who taught at Big Rapids High School the past four years.

Chris Rapes, commencement speaker, encouraged students to leave their mark on the world. (Pioneer photo/Shanna Avery)

“You are needed. This world needs you — each and every one of you,” he said to the graduates. “I need you to show up. I don’t mean simply being present. There are people counting on you. There were people counting on you yesterday, there will be people counting on you tomorrow and there are people in this room counting on you right now. What you do today matters. What you do tomorrow matters. Continue to develop a strong and unwavering work ethic. Strive for excellence in your craft and in your personal life. Pursue a career in a profession which motivates you to continue to improve.

“The opposite of love is not hate, the opposite of love is selfishness. Embrace a selfless mindset and make a difference for others. Strive to make a difference wherever you go. Represent yourself well and leave a mark on this society.”

Following the speaker, the Big Rapids High School Choir blended their voices to the inspirational song, “You Will Be Found.”

Principal Ron Pincumbe gave the presentation of the Class of 2018.

Students received their diplomas. (Pioneer photo/Shanna Avery)

“I present the class of 2018. Having met the requirements for graduation, they are to be awarded diplomas with all the rights and privileges as pertains,” he announced.

Students received their diplomas. (Pioneer photo/Shanna Avery)

Students walked on stage to receive their diplomas. After the students returned to their seats, they turned their tassels, symbolizing the end of their high school years and the beginning of a new chapter in life.

The new graduates turned their tassels, symbolizing a new chapter in their lives. (Pioneer photo/Shanna Avery)

Gifts of flowers marked the occasion. (Pioneer photo/Shanna Avery)



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