Chippewa Valley High School class president Brandon Frederick and student government president Abigail Livernois address students at the school’s June 5 graduation ceremony.

Chippewa Valley High School class president Brandon Frederick and student government president Abigail Livernois address students at the school’s June 5 graduation ceremony.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Chippewa schools take to the field for graduations

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published June 22, 2021

 Dakota High School’s newest graduates celebrate with a traditional toss of the cap June 6. About 700 students graduated from the school.

Dakota High School’s newest graduates celebrate with a traditional toss of the cap June 6. About 700 students graduated from the school.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP/MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Within a span of two days, 1,223 students graduated from Chippewa Valley Schools.

First, Chippewa Valley High School in Clinton Township held its graduation ceremony for the class of 2021 June 5 at the school’s football stadium. The following day, more graduates walked across the stage at Dakota High School in Macomb Township. Also, about 35 students graduated from Mohegan High School.                 

A pair of commencement ceremonies were held at Chippewa, while three were held at Dakota.

Chippewa’s June 5 morning ceremony, part of the school’s 57th commencement, included remarks from Principal Todd Distelrath and Superintendent Ron Roberts.

“We made it, and this has been a year,” Distelrath commented to the crowd. “It’s been difficult and challenging. I’m confident it’s had moments of fun, reward and accomplishment and the specialness that comes with a senior year.”

He added that this year’s graduating class has found a way to overcome, which will serve them well as they move forward in life.

Distelrath congratulated the parents, saying they have done so much to support their children.

“You are deserving of the pride that I am sure you are feeling right now,” he said.

At Chippewa, 63 students graduated cum laude with a cumulative GPA between 3.5 and 3.74. There were 36 magna cum laude students with GPAs between 3.75 and 3.89. Finally, there were 49 summa cum laude graduates, who maintained a GPA of 3.9 or higher their entire high school career.

In Roberts’ remarks, he thanked parents for allowing the district to educate their children, and he showed gratitude for the students, as well.

“Thank you, students, for all you have contributed to our district,” he said. “School districts are much more than a collection of buildings. They are about what occur in those buildings.”

Roberts thanked students for understanding themselves better as people and for understanding others better as people, learning to accept the differences in others.

“Figuratively speaking, we just set the table,” he said. “What you do is provide the open mind necessary to lead in your own learning and the drive to excel.”

The superintendent advised students that, as they move on, they should be mindful of what it is they love to do and what they are good at doing, letting it lead them on their path forward.

A special farewell came from class president Brandon Frederick and student government president Abigail Livernois.

“From kindergarten forward, we’ve come across so many great teachers,” Livernois said. “Teachers that challenged us and made us work hard. Teachers that had our best interest in mind and embraced us.”

Livernois shared that the word “difficult” is an obvious understatement used to describe the challenges faced in the last year.

“I’m sure many have pondered the question — what if COVID-19 never happened?” she asked.

Frederick replied that the class wouldn’t have missed out on a whole lot of lasts, like the last first day of school, the last homecoming, last concert and the last time getting cut off in the student parking lot.

“We are not the first group of people to face adversity,” Frederick said. “Many generations before us have had their own challenges. In the ’40s, it was World War II, and the ’60s brought Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement.

“More recently, graduates were forced to enter into a post-9/11 world and an economic crisis in 2008,” he said. “Instead of letting these moments define them, they used them as an opportunity to grow.”

Livernois remarked that prior generations did not let the world’s challenges conquer them, and neither will these graduates.    

Chippewa’s Class of 2021 class motto is “test negative, stay positive.”

The week of June 14 saw the last day for schools throughout the district.

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