Congratulations, Class of '22! Detroit Lakes High School holds 132nd Commencement
A total of 198 students received their diplomas in a ceremony held Sunday, May 22.
DETROIT LAKES — "Why didn't the fish graduate?," a smiling Luisa Walz asked her classmates during the Detroit Lakes High School Class of 2022 commencement ceremony on Sunday.
Many of her peers, sitting together in their red caps and gowns, broke into smiles; others took the bait and wondered aloud, “Why?”
“Because the grades were all under C," said Walz, delivering the punchline like a well-seasoned comedian.
While the fish may have struggled with making the grade, that wasn’t an issue for the 198 seniors who graduated this year. The ceremony was held at the school's Lakeshirts Fieldhouse at 2 p.m. May 22.
Two other students also addressed the class during the ceremony, Marit Engum and Luther Van Offelen.
Engum, an honor graduate who received the coveted four-year Robert and June Paulson Scholarship, opened her speech with gratitude. She thanked the faculty and staff for providing opportunities and an education, and then applauded the graduate’s parents for providing support and encouragement.
Engum also reflected on how time can move both fast and slow. She explained that there were times graduation seemed far away, but somehow the day arrived quickly.
Van Offelen admitted he was nervous about giving his speech, but the jitters dissipated when he realized that he wouldn’t see 90% of the crowd's faces again. While some seniors may not meet again until their 10-year reunion, Van Offelen noted how their shared, unique experiences bonded them — from school construction projects that started in their sophomore year and concluded their senior year, to a pandemic that brought isolation and uncertainty to many classmates.
The latter, he said, made him realize how “truly precious” their high school years were.
Teacher Mike Labine said the graduates received a door-opening education that can take them into the workforce, additional schooling or the military.
He then quoted a Chinese proverb, “There are many paths up the mountain, but the view from the top is the same.”
He encouraged the graduates to always remember their class motto: “Nothing we do changes the past — everything we do changes the future.”
Principal Joshua Omang commended the class when he spoke, noting how they have shown "resilience, talent and compassion"; three important life skills.