La Plata High School celebrated its ninety-fourth commencement ceremony celebrating the Class of 2022 on June 2 at Regency Furniture Stadium. The class demonstrated traits they share with their school’s mascot — the Warriors.
Kailyn Pratta, the class president, recalled the years she and her peers shared which culminated in graduation. After a traditional freshman year, “Sophomore year we heard rumors of an unknown virus and a two-week vacation,” Pratta said. “We were all OK and we were only sophomores.”
Then the class’s junior year was spent virtually. “Senior year, we’re back,” she said. “We took our COVID tests and our SATs. After four long years, it’s finally the time to show our growth to the world. We are strong, we are resilient and we are Warriors,” Pratta said.
“To say that your high school career has been a rollercoaster ride would be an understatement,” Principal Douglass Dolan said in his address. “Still every year, no matter what was thrown at you, you continued to forge on to meet your goals both in and out of the classroom.”
Dolan pointed out the accomplishments the 273 graduates have made academically, athletically, and in extracurricular activities. La Plata’s Class of 2022 earned more than $14 million in scholarship offers and was led by valedictorian Leah Kwak, who will study biological sciences at the University of Maryland, College Park in the fall, and Taylor Peterson, the salutatorian who will attend the University of Maryland, College Park where she is a member of the Gemstone Honors Program. Like Kwak, Peterson plans to major in biological sciences.
Each year, Dolan challenges students to determine the legacy they will leave behind at La Plata. To graduates, he expands on that challenge.
“What do you want your life’s legacy to be,” he asked. “You have prevailed through a pandemic, along with an ever-changing world. Please continue to be resilient and stand up for what’s right. Flex the dignity and strength of your character as you support those who could use a helping hand. Not only making our community a better place but a kinder place than extinguishing stereotypes and demolishing shame. This class is full of leaders and people that I believe will change this world in a positive way.”
Dolan said the graduates should revel in their accomplishments and celebrate graduation but after the parties have ended, “You still have work to do,” he said. “There is more to life than being smart. You must also remember to remain humble and be kind. To be such will afford opportunities to profoundly impact the heart of humanity.”