MTHS celebrates the Class of 2024


The Miami Trace High School Class of 2024 graduated Friday night in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd inside the school’s gymnasium.

The 62nd commencement at Miami Trace began with a prelude from the symphonic band, led by Paul Bissler. This was followed by the processional, with 203 proud graduates entering the gymnasium to take their seats.

The symphonic band performed the National Anthem, and the symphonic choir, led by Cameron Baker, performed “What Was I Made For” by Billie Eilish.

High school principal Bryan Sheets welcomed those in attendance and congratulated the graduates for their accomplishments.

Senior addresses from the salutatorian, the six valedictorians, and the class president were given.

Salutatorian Pierce McCarty was up first.

“We have been through so many ups and downs together, and what a ride it has been. We went from COVID shutdowns and hybrid schedules straight to graduation in what felt like the blink of an eye,” he said. “Going into high school, I instantly wished to graduate as soon as possible, but now that we are leaving, I would give anything to have more time together. Many of us consider each other family, and there is no greater family I would rather have spent high school with than you all sitting here today. We are all so blessed to be a part of such an amazing graduating class, and we should be proud of each other for this accomplishment. Just being up here and receiving your diplomas is an incredible achievement, so do not take this moment lightly.”

The first valedictorian to speak was Robert Bennett.

“When you look at the bigger picture, it can be argued that we may not seem all that significant at first. After all, we are each just one person, a tiny speck compared to our world,” Bennett said. “You may be asking how can I make an impact, laugh at everything and be that magnetic person? I’ve got one answer: It’s a leap of faith. For me at least, it took one instance, one moment to step out of my comfort zone and find what I love most in life. We all have that dream we want to pursue and we may be afraid to reach out to others for help. But you can’t do it alone, We all need each other and I hope that we as a class stay close with one another through our journeys ahead. It will not be easy, we have to make it a priority. Farewell, class of 2024. I hope you all find what you are looking for in life, and I hope that we can support each other in all our endeavors along the way.”

Valedictorian Mackenzie Cory spoke to her fellow classmates about overcoming challenging times in the future.

“In this season that we are about to walk through as officially graduated students, there will be times of difficulty where you may feel lost or overwhelmed. What we have to learn is overcoming these times,” she said. “Each morning as I wake up, I walk straight to my window and open my blinds. I do this just to stare at the sky in hopes of seeing a sunrise. While I may not see it every day, what I still see is a lit up sky which to me is a symbol of hope from God. Hope that no matter what happens life will still go on, so why follow in the darkness when you can create the light for you and others. In John 1:5, John says, ‘That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.’ While you may not think about it, being positive can be everlasting than any negativity going on around you.”

Valedictorian Justin Glass spoke about a boundless future for the graduates.

“And as we prepare to embark on the next phase of our lives, let us remember that the future is ours to shape. Each of us possess unique talents, passions, and dreams, and it is up to us to pursue them with conviction, integrity, and courage. But let us remember that success is not measured solely by achievements or accolades. True success lies in making a positive impact on the world around us whether that be lifting others up or leaving a legacy of kindness, compassion, and empathy,” Glass said. “So let us go forth from this school with our heads held high, hearts full of hope, and a determination to make a difference. And let us embrace the challenges that lie ahead with enthusiasm and optimism, knowing that we are capable of achieving greatness. So congratulations, class of 2024. As we say goodbye to the familiar halls of this school and set out on new adventures, whether that is moving on to college, the workforce, or the military. Let us never forget the lessons we have learned here, the friendships we have made, and the memories we have shared. May the future hold boundless opportunities and endless possibilities for each and every one of us.”

Valedictorian Katherine Hynes talked about learning from hardships.

“As educated individuals now (hopefully), what is the one thing that we have all learned in the last 13 years? Life is hard. We’ve experienced this truth in various ways, including academic pressures, mental health, social dynamics, developing self, inevitable failures, or uncertain changes,” Hynes said. “This is a great truth, and yet, throughout its challenges, we can discover our own resilience and ability to grow. I faced significant struggles during my time here, and it was quite the abrasive experience, but I know that I am better because of it. I hope that can be sincerely relatable to some of you. We have all experienced our own hardships that are unique to us, and that is the essence of what makes us who we are as individuals. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you have, or what you’ve done, we all struggle. All we can do is learn from these experiences, grow, and embrace the wisdom they may bring.”

Valedictorian Jacinta Pettit offered some advice to the Class of 2024:

“So, class of 2024, my advice to you is to not dwell on the end of our journey together but to find happiness and comfort knowing that you have someone by your side to help and guide you on your new one. Now it is time for us to walk out of these doors and commence our adulthoods. We will never have it all figured out and that is okay, not one person in this room has it all going according to plan. Vulnerability is not weakness and failure is not final. Strive to make an impact on those around you, and remember those who have helped you along the way. And most importantly, do not say goodbye, but say hello to the new adventure in front of you. Thank you and congratulations class of 2024.”

The final valedictorian to speak, Emily Turner, encouraged her classmates to celebrate the beginning of a new era.

“Today is a day that we will remember for years to come. And while many may view today as the end of a phase, it is also the beginning of a new one. Today we celebrate our hard work, dedication, and accomplishments of the past, and tomorrow we look to the future,” said Turner. “Some of us are going off to college, some the workforce, and others the military, but no matter where we are going, we will have the memories and connections that were built here. Now is the time to embrace the new phase and use the skills we have been taught throughout the last several years. So, to my fellow graduates and everyone who has joined us here today, let us celebrate the beginning of a new era and the future we have ahead. And, most importantly, let us remember that as we go forth today, we have the possibility to change the world and create our own meaning within it. Thank you, and congratulations to the class of 2024.”

Class president Kaley Moser gave an inspiring speech to the Class of 2024.

“As we know, graduation is a time of reflection, celebration, and anticipation for what lies ahead. I am so proud of every one of you for graduating today, but I also want to mention how proud I am of you for representing this class. It’s true. The class of 2024 is a class of overachievers, but this will carry on into our futures. We are leaders, listeners, and contributors. The world needs that. I know everyone can recount a memory from our educational journeys that you will always remember and be grateful for,” Moser said. “I always like to think about our first day of senior year. Some of us came together for senior sunrise, and people got involved by bringing donuts or decorations. And there is an abundant amount of times where the class of 2024 not only showed up, but truly shared their gifts with each other to create special memories. For that, I’m so incredibly grateful and inspired.”

High school assistant principal Ryan Davis and Meagan Strahler announced the names of the many students who received scholarships and awards.

Following these announcements, Sheets presented the Class of 2024 and Miami Trace Superintendent Kim Pittser accepted the class as official graduates. Sheets and Davis presented diplomas to each member of the class as they individually came to the stage.

To conclude the ceremony, Raelin Pepper and Blake Steele led the graduates and the crowd in the alma mater, followed by the recessional.

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