Lift off: MCC bids farewell to class of 2019

May 25, 2019

SCOTTVILLE — Some will become Chippewas, Lakers or Wolverines, while others will travel, learn a trade or join the armed services. Some plan to be educators, journalists or doctors, but no matter what path they choose, they’ll always be Spartans.

On Friday, 104 Mason County Central Spartans marched toward the future as the school and community said farewell to its senior class of 2019.

Ambition, responsibility, pride and ambition dominated the evening’s speeches, as did references to the Apollo 11 moon landing, which occurred 50 years ago this summer, connecting the class to that historic event.

The moon landing inspired the class quote, and during the student address, Riley Kruer, 2019 class president, and Breanna Visser, vice president, asked their fellow graduates to take that quote — “Chase your dreams, because if there’s footprints on the moon, the sky is no longer the limit” — to heart.

“The world has been shaping you into the person you are … but high school graduation is only one stop in the journey of your lives,” Visser said. “Imagine yourselves … as rockets set for takeoff. The countdown is over.”

Kruer emphasized some of the traits that have defined the 2019 seniors’ time together.

“The class of 2019 has seen ambition … as a driving force in their lives,” Kruer said.

He noted the class’ determination and commitment, as well as its “family-like bond.”

“We have been there for each other regardless of what has gotten in our way,” he said.

The MCC Concert Band, under the direction of Tom Thomas, played “Pomp and Circumstance” during the procession as the graduates — garbed in blue robes with gold-tinged tassels on their caps — walked the length of the gym as hundreds of friends, family and community members packed the high school gym to pay tribute to the graduating class.

MCC High School Principal Jeff Tuka delivered the first faulty address.

“Tonight we honor the senior class of 2019,” Tuka said. “We’ve all watched you grow, and now it’s time to let you go out and carve your own path.”

On behalf of the MCC Board of Education, the faculty and the school staff, Superintendent Jeff Mount encouraged leadership, kindness and compassion.

“Class of 2019, my parting words to you … are lead, follow or get out of the way,” Mount said. “My hope for each and every one of you is to live a life that matters by making a difference in the lives of those around you.”

He stressed the importance of striking a balance between the freedom adulthood provides and the and the responsibility it entails.

“You need to choose when and where to lead, when and where to follow and when and where to get out of the way,” Mount said. “As you are free to make your own choices, you are not free from the consequences of those choices.

“You and only you are responsible for every choice you make — so choose wisely.”

Mount stressed the significance of the MCC mascot to his message, saying, “Spartans are leaders, by the way, and you’re all Spartans.”

Mount encouraged kindness, charity, empathy and respect “even to people don’t deserve it,” and asked graduates to pursue their dreams with “relentless passion.”

The graduates, Mount said, all have what it takes to make a difference in the world and more — namely “unswerving integrity, pulsating energy and rugged determination.”

Graduates Xaylee Hunter and Breanne Mallison spoke to students, welcoming them to the ceremony, and thanking the faculty, staff and administrators for their “hard work and dedication” that’s helped them succeed.

Guidance counselor Joan Vidak recognized the graduates who had earned scholarships, stressing the accomplishments of the class of 2019 in this regard.

“This year’s graduating class has earned more money in scholarships than any other class in my time at MCC, and I’ve been here a long time,” Vidak said.

The graduating seniors have collectively earned nearly $1.5 million, she said, adding, “I’m not sure how you did it.”

Diplomas were handed out by Tuka, Mount, and MCC Board of Education trustees Gena Nelson and Jen Miller.

One by one the the graduates approached the podium to receive their diplomas, flipping the blue-and-gold tassels on their caps from one side to the other, signifying the end completion of a mission — the end of an era.

Once the diplomas were distributed and the graduates had returned to their seats, it was made official.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the class of 2019,” Mount said, as the gymnasium erupted — cheers echoing and caps soaring upward in celebration.

“Class of 2019,” Mount said, in the conclusion of his address, “go forth and leave your legacy of success printed on this world.”

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