Fridley High School’s 64th commencement ceremony on June 2 celebrated the Class of 2022 where a total of 225 graduates received their diplomas on the high school’s Bob O’ Neill Field, capping off 13 years of education.

The student emcees for the evening were Amira Mohamed and Ryken Farr. Both congratulated their classmates on persevering through the pandemic and celebrated a return to many activities that had been on hold the previous two years, such as pep fests and homecoming.

Andrew Hill delivered the welcome address for the ceremony, speaking of the success the Class of 2022 achieved, despite the uncertainty of the past two years.

“One of the most important things we all learned over these last four years was to adapt,” Hill said. “You took what was given to you, and when things weren’t going as planned, you changed up what you were doing.”

Sikoulite Sarah Yannis Sibo offered encouragement to her classmates in her student address.

“We graduate in every area of our life once we show that we can handle situations bigger than ourselves,” Sibo said. “Once we show that, we can make things happen and become whomever we desire to be.”

“Try to make a difference,” Sibo added. “We all know that the world is a scary place filled with people who will do anything to try to put us down by consistently placing their needs first above all other things. That is not the behavior we should harvest; in fact, we should try to be the change in a world full of people with ignorant thoughts. If we want the world to become a better place for us and the ones after us, we should make a difference.”

Principal Patty Hand welcomed families and congratulated the graduates, acknowledging the extraordinary effort the students put in to earn their diplomas.

“When we opened schools this year, we were still in the middle of a pandemic that presented many challenges, and opportunities,” Hand said. “However, with these challenges, we worked hard, supported one another, and have found success, which is why we are here today. Thank you, seniors, for your resilience, perseverance and hard work. I am so proud to be your principal.”

Fridley High School biology teacher Kris Hatling was the chosen staff member to give the faculty address for the occasion. Hatling voiced how proud she was of the graduates, and their ability to affect change in the world.

“Do not let the unique contributions you have given our community escape you,” Hatling implored. “As you continue your path and chart new rivers, make it a priority to authentically show up for your community. Continuously work towards making this world accepting, loving and dynamic. Welcome mistakes and reflection. The world is full of helpers. Be a memorable one!”

Before the awarding of diplomas, Fridley Public Schools Superintendent Kim Hiel, stood in front of the students and asked them to always remember the many people who lifted them up along their paths.

“There will come a time when you draw upon the examples set by the mentors in your life,” Hiel said. “That is how you build purpose. Remember you are never alone and there are many people that are around to support you.”

Nearly half of the graduates attained honors designations, with grade point averages of 3.25 and higher. Twelve students completed the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP), earning eligibility for the distinguished IB Diploma. In addition, 14 students earned an Associate of Arts degree via the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program.

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