It is June 3, 2022, 5:15 p.m. All students have reported to Gym 1 of the high school. This is it! They report to their assigned seats, last minute instructions are given, a last-minute restroom stop is encouraged, and the entire class takes a final field trip on school buses to Playhouse Square. They enter the theater and retire to the cavernous backstage of the opulent State Theater. Knots of students chat as calmly and as quietly as they can. Forty seniors, members of the NRHS band, are out front welcoming guests to their seats. The band plays selections that subtly speak to the seniors: Star Trek, go where no one has gone before; Indiana Jones, be brave but research first; E.T., keep your heart light on. The senior members leave to join the others backstage, waiting. Teachers, board members and school support staff relax on folding chairs waiting. The diplomas so carefully prepared by the office personnel, are stacked in the correct order waiting for presentation. At this moment all is in waiting.
The family members were encouraged to be seated by 6:45 p.m. As the moments ticked on, families and friends adjusted themselves in their seats. The theater lights are dimmed, young men in yellow, and young women in purple, move to their assigned spot, waiting. At 7 p.m., the faculty and administration enter the stage dressed in baccalaureate black with ‘hoods’ showing the colors of their various masters’ degrees. The United States Army National Guard presents the Colors, the band plays the National Anthem, and the Colors are retired. The wait is over, the processional march begins, and each graduate knows exactly which row and seat they will occupy.
Senior Class President Nina Kovalak welcomed the families, administration, and teachers to the 2022 commencement of North Royalton High School and introduced the speakers. Alina Ogonovskiy thanked Ms. Boduszek for her remarks at freshman orientation to cherish the time in high school because it is fleeting. Hana Saad shared thoughts on the real world; be competitive, take opportunities, and explore without losing individuality. Principal Sean Osborn said, “This is the last hour and a half you have to listen to me.” He continued with sage advice, “Time is like a river, you never touch the same water twice. Make good use of your time.” Mr. Osborn then certified the class and presented them for graduation. Before Superintendent Michael Laub accepted the class, he stated, “I’m the proud son of a military man and the proud father of a military son.” He asked the graduates who were going into the armed forces to stand, and he asked all veterans and current military to stand and be recognized. He then exhorted the class to, “stay positive, because in all the things in life you cannot control, being positive is a choice. That choice makes all the difference, be positive.” Dr. John Kelly, President of the School Board, wished them the essence of the Irish blessing – Enough trials to keep you humble, strong, and human, with enough successes and wealth to meet your needs, keep you from strife, keep you happy and be a blessing to others. Dr. Kelly then turned the microphone back over to Principal Osborn who called upon Assistant Principal Matthew Yappel to introduce the awarding of the diplomas. With clear strong voices, classmates Claire Casey and Ben Pacholski read the names of each student as they received their diplomas.
Thoughts from family: “Where did this time go? She was just in first grade.” “I hope she/he knows she/he gets to pay part of the car insurance now.” “Curfew is still midnight until she/he’s eighteen, in July.” “I’m crying like I did when I put him on the bus for kindergarten.” “I’m so proud of you, honey.”
As the last name was called and all the graduates were seated, Principal Osborn joked with families that they had to take the graduates home. He wished them well and with that, the North Royalton High School Class of 2022 joined the previous 115 classes of graduates as alumni. In her speech, Alina Ogonovskiy quoted that famous philosopher Winnie the Pooh, “We didn’t realize we were making memories; we were just having fun.’ Thank you, Ms. Boduszek, you were right, time flies.”

Contributing Writer