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Spirits high at North, South graduation ceremoniesFree Access

In an academic year deemed an anomaly by many of the speakers at both Grosse Pointe North and Grosse Pointe South high schools’ graduation ceremonies, it is only natural the ceremonies themselves were marked by distinct meteorology as well. Both ceremonies were delayed due to impending rain and South’s ceremony, even with a rain delay, was rushed because of another impending storm.
However, even with the postponements, the spirit of the Class of 2022 did not seem to be dampened. The graduates of both ceremonies appeared to be just as joyful as the pomp and circumstance a graduation day dictates.

Grosse Pointe North Senior Class President Farrah Fosse gives the welcome address.

North held its graduation first — Tuesday, June 7 — and included its traditional selection of three student speakers: Student Association President Shannon Kane, Student Council President Farrah Fasse and the committee-chosen commencement speaker, Stephanie Westrick.
All three student speakers reflected on the challenges COVID-19 presented to the Class of 2022, and centered their speeches around themes of perseverance.

Cate Ramsey shakes hands with Grosse Pointe Public School System Superintendent Jon Dean before receiving her diploma.

Fasse said in her speech that because of the pandemic’s timing, many believe the Class of 2022 is the first to fully overcome the effects of COVID-19.
“We’ve been able to return to a semblance of what we’ve had in the past and our class is truly the first to start making it to the other side of this, though our hearts carry some heaviness from the past couple of years,” Fasse said.
Both Kane and Westrick elaborated further on Fasse’s assertion, discussing how North returned to a full state of normalcy with the Class of 2022’s work and guidance.

Grosse Pointe South Senior Class President Aleena Siddiqui gives her speech, “Notes From Detention.”

Kane mentioned that in the past year, the Student Association had its Adopt-a-Family charity event for the first time since the pandemic and Westrick recounted the various COVID-19 restrictions the class had to navigate and overcome in its last two and a half years of high school.
Similar messages were conveyed in the two student speeches at South by Student Council President Aleena Siddiqui and the committee-chosen commencement speaker, Anne Davey.
Siddiqui used the concept of nihilism to explain the meaninglessness many of her classmates may have found in the student traditions in which they participated at the end of high school and that this should spark optimism rather than pessimism when thinking about the meaning of life.

Photos by Renee Landuyt
Charlotte Joy shakes hands with Grosse Pointe South Principal Moussa Hamka on stage on her way to get her diploma.

Siddiqui said her speech was largely about the importance of having an optimistic mindset and being able to find joy in all of the situations one will encounter throughout life.
“I just talked a lot about finding joy in every moment and not hyper-fixating on making everything perfect,” Siddiqui said. “Whatever happens, whatever the outcome is, just roll with it and find the joy that you can in that.”
While Davey reflected on the pandemic in some facets of her speech, she closed the student speaking portion of the ceremony by looking toward the future and encouraging her classmates to enter the next step of their lives with an open mind that is eager for taking advantage of the opportunities available to them.

Sean Cotton, Owner & Publisher
Jody McVeigh, Editor in chief