Granger Class of 2023 exits stage right

Published 3:44 pm Saturday, May 27, 2023

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On Saturday morning, the LaGrange High School’s Class of 2023 spent their last moments at Callaway Stadium as high school students.

Nearly 300 Grangers, 293 in total, received their diplomas on a joyous and sunny morning, taking their first official steps into adulthood.

STAR Student Minchae Kim recalled coming to the United States just over a decade ago on May 15, 2012.

“Since this day, I’ve been blessed with the best family, friends, teachers and coaches to be the guidance and support for my life,” Kim said. “They have not only encouraged me and cheered me on, but they also have been there for me. Without them, I would not be the person I am today.”

Kim said the Granger Class of 2023 shares a special bond having spent their teenage years together. 

“These memories and friendships will be the strength and motivation to push and keep going. We will all cherish the memories we shared in high school, and these will forever live in our hearts,” Kim said.

Salutatorian Luke Michael Patton took time from his commencement address to thank and recognize his brother Andy, whom he said only barely lost out on being salutatorian himself. Luke said he was tied with Andy and only won out on tiebreakers.

Luke said it was his help and competition that pushed him to succeed, along with support from his parents and amazing teachers.

“All of our teachers from Pre-K to now have worked incredibly hard to ensure our success and to prepare us for our bright futures. I still remember walking into my very first class of high school. There at the time, it seemed like high school would never end. Looking back, it still feels like we just started our freshman year,” Patton said.

Valedictorian John Bowen Beall Jr. spoke about how two surgeries during high school helped him learn to find peace in the chaos.

Beall explained that he had to have surgeries on both of his knees, which forced him out of his freshman and sophomore soccer seasons, so while he was out he got to think and read a lot.

“Don’t just settle for it’ll do. Strive for greatness. Fear not a failure for it’s only the greatest teacher in our lives,” Beall said. “Setbacks and failures are inevitable. Crap will hit the fan. But don’t ever stop pursuing your most dear ambitions. Reach for the stars, Class of 2023. No goal is too big.”