A thunder of nearly 500 Dragons look to the future after graduation

A thunder of nearly 500 Dragons look to the future after graduation
By Joseph Goral
Staff Writer
INDEPENDENCE TWP. — Tassels turned and caps were tossed as Lake Orion High School’s Class of 2024 ended the high school chapters of their lives. The Dragons will now turn to the endless possibilities awaiting in the future.
Nearly 500 seniors and their families, friends,  administrators and teachers celebrated the milestone during commencement ceremonies at Pine Knob on June 4.
The celebration marked a day when graduates stood on the precipice of adulthood – an action 13 years in the making that senior speaker Elizaveta Bruner described to attendants.
“The Kindergartners who’s tiny hands went from gripping over-sized crayons to graduation caps in just 13 years moved from elementary school to middle school, and entered high school in the midst of a global pandemic,” Bruner said. “Once we transitioned into in-person school, we rallied at football games and Cell Out, danced to drumline, went to sports, clubs and had after school jobs, and of course got excited when we received those snow days. We all looked forward to this day together.”
Whenever a student’s journey at Lake Orion started, Bruner said they became a Dragon. Each Dragon, called a thunder when in a group, began as a tiny sapling that has now grown into bloom. The thunder came to LOHS ready to make it count and left as leaders.
Senior speaker and student Leadership President Ryann Pawlaczyk encouraged students to celebrate the possibilities. Pawlazyk thanked students, teachers, administrators, faculty, friends and family for supporting the class of 2024, and said the day was a celebration of the thunder’s hard work, dedication, accomplishments, growth and resilience, plus each student’s accomplishments of the last 13 years.
“I ask, that whatever you do in your life, put your all into it,” Pawlaczyk said. “Pursue your dreams. Do the things you think are impossible out of faith in yourself and your abilities. Take on these new challenges with open eyes, an open mind and an open heart.”
Board of Education President Danielle Bresset told the class that Walt Disney’s quote “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible” speaks to the spirit, adventure and boundless potential within each of them.
Challenges and obstacles the senior’s high school journey may have tested their resolve and determination, but their presence at graduation is a testament to their resilience and their belief in their own potential, Bresset said.
Bresset also congratulated the class, wished them the best for a future filled with boundless possibilities and added that “the world is waiting for the unique contributions that only you can make.”
Lake Orion Community Schools Superintendent Ben Kirby encouraged graduates to continue attacking their tasks and goals with a great attitude and their best effort.
“Dragons, the world is a better place because you are in it,” Kirby said.
As the class concluded this chapter in their lives, Pawlaczyk said they get the opportunity to step into a new world with new challenges and new successes.
In this new world Hass told the class to take pride in their accomplishments, ownership in their actions and to remember their LOHS thunder is always supporting them.
“There are always supports,” Hass said. ‘“Protect the Thunder’s’ entire message is about the understanding that you are never alone, and you always have people there to back you up and be your safety net.”
And, as Bruner said, “Once a Dragon, Always a Dragon.”

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