Graduates urged to make an impact

Posted 6/15/22

By Bruce Karnick [email protected] Graduation day, a day of excitement, a day of fear, a day of freedom and a day of what next? It is a whirlwind of emotion for students and families alike, but …

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Graduates urged to make an impact


By Bruce Karnick

[email protected]

Graduation day, a day of excitement, a day of fear, a day of freedom and a day of what next? It is a whirlwind of emotion for students and families alike, but each year, the Hastings High School senior class makes their way from Our Saviors Lutheran Church to Todd Field for outdoor ceremonies. This year was no different. The seniors loaded the OSLC parking lot, brought their clothes into the church, got ready, lined up and waited for the line to start moving down the hill. 355 students made the walk this year of 384 in the class.

The Raider Band performed for the preceremony entertainment and then switched to Pomp and Circumstance when the graduates arrived. Once the graduates arrived, Fernando Gonzalez Castello gave the welcome speech. During his speech, he thanked the students, staff, and the community for making his stay in Hastings a memorable one.

“I've never lived in this lovely town in Minnesota



On Friday, June 10, Hastings High School held their graduation ceremony at Todd Field in front of a packed house. See more pictures on pages 13 and 14.

Photo by Bruce Karnick that now has a special place in my heart. Hastings has changed me forever, not only by teaching me how to ski or golf, but also as a person. I've learned to be a true Minnesotan. Be really, really, really nice. I remember one time when my friend Holden asked me ‘Hey Fernando! Has anyone been mean to you in Hastings?’ I said the truth. No.”

Following the welcome speech was Principal Scott Doran. Doran was the official Emcee of the evening and he introduced the retirees, Joe Beatty, Nick Dressen, Mary Jo Meyers, Leslie Burgee and Principal Mike Johnson. The retirees in attendance did their last Raider walk. All the remaining staff in attendance formed lines on the side of the aisle for the retirees to walk through. It’s a tradition they do every year for the seniors’ last day of school.

Superintendent, Dr. Robert McDowell introduced the honors students. Twelve students graduated with the highest honors, a GPA of 4.0 for their entire four years. Twenty earned high honors, a GPA of 3.935 or better, and 22 graduated with honors, a GPA of 3.867 or better.

Once the honors students were recognized, Kristina Cahill spoke to her fellow classmates about enjoying the moment, soaking it all in and being present.

After Cahill, the final speaker, Charlee Simacek, gave her speech about the importance of the connections built at the school, connections that last a lifetime.

Principal Doran returned to the podium to present the Class of 2022 to the school board, and he said, “I’ve been waiting my whole career to get to say these next words, and I couldn’t think of a better group of students to share this with. So, Superintendent McDowell, members of the Board of Education, the Class of 2022 has met the requirements that have been set forth by you and the State of Minnesota. To Brian Davis, Chair of the Board of Education of district 200. I proudly present the Class of 2022.”

Davis spoke to the class for a few moments, and he gave the students a challenge.

“Every single one of you has an opportunity to make an impact on this community, the state, this country in this world. So go do it. Make sure that you take advantage of every single opportunity that's before you.”

With that, Athletic Director Trent Hanson began to read the names of the students as they crossed the stage and just like that, the commencement ceremony was over.

See Hastings High School Graduation photos on pages 11 and 12.