Celebrating Seniors: Hamilton Community Schools

HEATH, Mich. (WOOD) — Leaders at Hamilton Community Schools have been posting pictures of their graduating seniors on all of their digital platforms as a way to honor them and their achievements at a time when they can’t celebrate in person.

Like other high school seniors, they had to drive through the school parking lot to receive their caps and gowns.

On Thursday, students will drive through again to turn in their books, other school property and accept their diplomas.

Principal Ben Bandfield announced this week that the rescheduled commencement will take place on July 18 at 7 p.m. at the high school stadium, with an alternative date set for Aug. 8, pending recommendations and restrictions from the state at that time.

Several well-known people have recorded special messages for the Hawkeye class of 2020 and shared them on social media, including Michigan State University basketball head coach Tom Izzo.

“How you act and what you do in the months to come make you a difference maker to your classmates, to the people that are struggling emotionally and mentally, to your community,” Izzo said in the video.

Luke Freyhof is the valedictorian for the class of 2020 and shared a message with News 8 for his classmates.

“It’s okay to be frustrated or discouraged, but regardless, I think we should thank the people in our communities and families and schools who have helped us get to this point of graduation. I also think it’s important for us to look to the future with hope. I know we all have the potential to do great things,” Freyhof said.

Other graduating seniors shared their feelings and experiences from the last two months with News 8 in a virtual discussion.

Hamilton High School offers students learning opportunities through the Careerline Tech Center, which many of them have taken advantage of.

Alicia and her classmates Tiffany and Kiara all took classes through the center geared towards the medical field. Alicia and Tiffany both plan to become nurses, while Kiara intends to go into phlebotomy.

Tiffany is disappointed she wasn’t able to perform in the spring musical “Little Women,” in which she would have played a lead role. The students put together a video of “final bows” as a tribute to their hard work.

Haley is headed to Central Michigan University next year, where she’s waiting for guidance on what her dormitory situation will be. The school sent her a notice that there will be a limit on who can be in the dorms, so she may only have one or two roommates, instead of three.

Jacob is hoping to find work in the photography field after graduation as businesses begin to reopen.

Jordan Brown plans to attend Northern Michigan University to go into Fisheries and Wildlife management, while Jenna will attend Hope College. She’s working to figure out if she will live on campus or at home, since the school is nearby and there is so much uncertainty.

Though these students have missed out on exciting events and plans, they’re keeping focused on the good.

Maya shared her thoughts on helping her peers get through this time.

“It’s important to be able to stay all together as one unified community, especially because we’re all in our own homes doing separate things. But know that there will be a time when we will come back together,” she said.

Raya shared a similar message.

“It’s going to be done soon. If we stay strong, it’ll get better,” she said.