Onaway High School celebrates graduation

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Onaway High School graduating senior Peggy Artrip enters the gymnasium for graduation on Thursday night. There were 33 students in the class of 2024.

ONAWAY – High school graduation season has begun in Northeast Michigan.

On Thursday night, 33 seniors at Onaway High School put a cap on their four years in high school, as the class of 2024 gathered one last time for graduation.

The gymnasium was full of individuals who supported the students since childhood and are now watching them move into adulthood.

Before the ceremony ended, the graduates received advice and words of wisdom from school district administrators and fellow classmates, as they prepared to embark on the next chapter of their lives.

Many of the graduating seniors grew up together in the small town and have known each other since childhood. Now, many will go their separate ways to pursue a college degree, begin new careers, and even join the military. The memories they made while going to school in Onaway however, will always be something they cherish.

Onaway Principal Marty Mix said the senior class overcame the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic and had to learn a new way of testing and complying with state curriculum changes, but worked through challenges and will be stronger for it.

“These last four years were full of a ton of adversity for you guys,” Mix said. “Nobody else, to this point, has had the type of adversity you have had to find a way through. This class never panicked and rolled with everything. You concurred it all and you did it in a manner we can all be proud of.”

After the graduating class entered the gym to hoots, hollers, and whistles, while the song “Pomp and Circumstance” greeted them, each senior took their seat with the focus of everyone on them.

It was when some of the seniors took to the podium to address their classmates that the reality of the situation began to set in and the love and respect among the graduating class became apparent.

Valedictorian Justin Kramer-St. Germain thanked his classmates and school staff for helping him to settle in when he was a new student from out of the area. He said without their support and that of Mix and his sports coaches, he likely wouldn’t have finished school, let alone be headed to the University of Michigan for college.

“You have no idea the things you have done for me,” he said. “There were so many times I was so confused and hurt, but you gave me hope. I probably wouldn’t be here tonight if it wasn’t for you.”

During the ceremony, many of the students were recognized for their academic achievements, sports accomplishments, good deeds, and funny gaffs. Many teachers and staff members received thanks from the students, and some light-hearted ribbing was also tossed at some staff and at other seniors.

Then, each graduate had their moment to cross the stage to receive their diploma and receive their moment of recognition from the friends, family, and community members in the audience.

The graduating class made their exit from the gym at the end of the ceremony to the Onaway High School fight song and moved outdoors where the students posed for photos with their loved ones and with one another.


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