“Be the light the world needs:” Sapulpa’s class of 2022

With a collective shout amongst the smells and sounds of fireworks, the Sapulpa High School Class of 2022 finally crossed the finish line of their long school career.

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Aubrey Myers sings National Anthem. Sheri Waldrop photo.

Aubrey Myers led the crowd in the National Anthem in the first of several times that students would enter the stage to address their peers.

One of the ten valedictorians—Madelyn Braswell—told of just how much this class had seen in their years at Sapulpa Public Schools.

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“I saw the old middle school and the new one,” she said. “In 8th grade, we had the teacher walkout,” she added, referring to the statewide effort by teachers, parents and administrators to get better funding for Oklahoma’s teaching workforce.

Valedictorian Madelyn Braswell. Sheri Waldrop photo.

“Ninth grade was our last ‘normal’ year,” Braswell said, bringing to mind the tumultuous last few years as the world was gripped by the Coronavirus, which affected students more than almost any other group.

Superintendent Rob Armstrong echoed Braswell’s sentiments during his address to the graduating class and their families. “The last three years have been anything but normal,” he said. Still, he encouraged the class to enter the world with the hope they were leaving high school with now, and to pass that hope on to others.

Choir Performance at Sapulpa 2022 Graduation. Sheri Waldrop photo.

“Be the light that this world desperately needs,” he said.

 Teachers, coaches and other well-wishers took time to record special messages that played on the school’s new video scoreboard, but none was so amazing as the special message from Adam “Tico” Hernandez, who took time out of touring with Country Music Superstart Lauren Alaina to encourage the seniors to do what he did: chase their dreams, no matter how big. “If you have a dream or a passion, do not stop!”

Tico Hernandez speaks to graduates on new scoreboard. Sheri Waldrop photo.

Indeed, if a class like this can survive what they have, what else can they do? We can’t wait to find out.