FORRESTON — Forreston High School Principal Travis Heinz thanked the Class of 2022 on May 15 for helping him through his battle with cancer and urged graduates to “chase their dreams”.
“I love each and everyone of you,” Heinz said noting he had been the class’ principal from grade school to high school. “You are my seniors.”
Fifty-five seniors received their diplomas in the high school gym following two years of COVID-19 experiences.
“Your freshman year you had 15 snow days and then in March 2020 we had the shut down and then the year of mitigations. You guys have yet to have a normal year,” Heinz said.
“Your four years of high school have been far from traditional,” said Superintendent Sheri Smith who encouraged students to live in the moment. “And may the last two years leave you better, not bitter.”
Valedictorian Taylor Akins urged her classmates to “embrace their differences”.
“Maybe we are all different, but maybe that’s not all bad,” she said thanking her classmates for putting up with her “Twilight” movie phase in middle school. “We’ve learned not to take our time together for granted.”
Salutatorian Julia Wells said she had seen her class grow and adapt to life’s challenges.
“Not all of us have the same journey. Not everybody in this room is looking for the same version of success,” she said. “Whatever your success is I want you to know that it is possible.”
Wells, along with Matthew Beltran and Natalie Johnson, also earned associate degrees from Highland Community College.
Heinz said he had modified his address after his daughter, Montanna who is a member of the Class of 2022, had informed him of what he could and could not say.
But his strongest recommendation to the class came from a man whom he met while undergoing cancer treatment.
“He said sometimes when you are in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve only been planted,” Heinz said.
“Know your self worth. You don’t owe anything to anybody. Chase your dreams, good and bad things will happen, but learn from it,” he said.