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Grads make the grade

June 05, 2013 - From learning the alphabet to using letters in words and in math problems and beyond, Clarkston High School seniors closed the chapter of a 13-year journey as they graduated on Monday at DTE Energy Music Theatre.

"Don't lose sight of the last 13 years," said AJ Schlaff, the student speaker for the class.

Sharing a few memories from elementary to high school, he recalled what he and many of his friends had gone through – the transition with their parents.

"Sophmore year was the 'oh, my baby is growing phase," he remembered. "The junior year – 'I can't wait for you to get out of this house.' Now we have 'I can't believe you are all grown up' or 'where did all the time go?'

"It is give time to give thanks to our parents," Schlaff continued. "Thank them for teaching you from good and bad. And in my case nagging until my ears bleed," he paused smiling as he looked into the crowd, "just kidding mom. To all the parents and guardians - You make the world turn. I say thank you a million times over."

Superintendent Dr. Rod Rock and high school principal Gary Kaul shared tips for the 576 graduates as they move on into the next phase of their life.

Chris Brosky, the faculty guest speaker from the high school, added his own – to make memories and have something to look back on.

He would remember many memories of the 2013 class but what would stick out would be his forensics science classes and how every day was a new adventure. He would also remember the class empathy and thoughtfulness.

"In my 15 years I have never seen a class more thoughtful than you all," he said remembering when Nate Yeloushan came into Kaul's office with an idea to have Ryan Kennedy's name trending on Twitter. "To be honest I don't think Mr. Kaul knew what Twitter was at the time. Let alone what trending meant. But trusting Nate and pretending like he knew what he was talking about he said go for it. We all know what happened - #RyanKennedy went across the nation then the world. Your class and this community were brought together by Ryan. Sadly last week marked the one year anniversary of Ryan's death. Ryan left us with a testament with what strength and courage really is. He also left us with memories no one can take away. Memories are so important."

He added while writing the speech he found a tip to quote someone famous. But after searching he didn't find anything to fit.

"Nothing seemed right but #RyanKennedy to be my quote," said Brosky. "Ryan taught me more about dropping everything and living the life and making memories than anyone I have ever come across. Thank you Ryan. Your spirit lives on in me and hopefully all of us."

"We are leaders for tomorrow," said Schlaff. "We are ready. Remember this day."

Next week's edition includes the 2013 Graduation section and more photos from Clarkston's graduation.

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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