Expressions of joy abound as the 2023 graduation ceremony comes to a close. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
Education, Local News

H-F class of 2023 marks rite of passage June 4

  • Expressions of joy abound as the 2023 graduation ceremony comes to a close. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
    Expressions of joy abound as the 2023 graduation ceremony comes to a close. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

When the Homewood-Flossmoor High School graduates marked the end of their high school journey on Sunday, June 4, it was another pandemic-scarred class that accepted diplomas.

The pandemic figured in several of the speeches, but aside from a few playful pokes at the foibles of remote learning periods in 2020 and 2021, the graduates seemed to consider the difficulties they endured as badges of honor.

The first speaker, Faith Kenshol, president of the Student Government Executive Board, congratulated her classmates on thriving in spite of pandemic-related problems.

“We all know that our high school journey has been far from ordinary, but these four years have polished and proven our resilience,” she said. “We’ve made the most of a very difficult situation.

“Although quarantine was not ideal for our educational, social or emotional growth, it put into perspective the importance of being adaptable and the practice of never giving up. We were the class that carried on. We moved forward when standing still would have been much easier.”

Senior Class President Nicole Guyton agreed, noting that the class had overcome challenges to become more resilient and wise than before.

“While our high school experience might not have been what we expected or envisioned, it has shaped us in ways we could never have anticipated,” she said. “It has taught us the importance of cherishing every moment, embracing change and finding joy in small victories. We have become a class of survivors, able to face any challenge that may come our way.”

She urged her classmates to use their preparation to tackle big problems in the world.

“We must approach our future with a sense of purpose and integrity. It is not enough to simply dream, we must take action,” she said. “Let us be the generation that tackles the pressing challenges of our time: climate change, inequality, social justice and so much more.”

Guyton also announced that the senior class gift was flag poles for the varsity baseball and softball fields.
Principal Clinton Alexander continued the theme in his remarks, noting that life would continue to throw challenges at graduates as they move on to college or career.

“You’ll be challenged, tested, provoked, misled and the like. But … you’ll prevail and come out triumphant because you are built for it,” he said.

School board member Steve Anderson delivered the final speech before graduates lined up to receive their diplomas. He urged graduates to take time to enjoy the moment and to express their gratitude to those who supported them along the way.

“Do me a favor. Put down your phone and give your parents and all the people who helped get you here a proper hug,” he said. “Then thank them for the love and support, for the rides to school, rehearsal and practice. Thank them for putting down roots in a community like this, a community that values education and the future of every one of our children.”

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