Sixty-eight graduates walked the line during the Heritage Park High School graduation ceremony Thursday afternoon. The class marks one of the largest the school has had in recent years.
Principal Michelle Ruckdeschel, Ed.D., referred to the class as understanding, patient, and flexible as they navigated the many resemblances of school. She said they encountered many school and learning versions since the pandemic’s onset in the spring of 2020.
“Our hope is for our graduates to remember to utilize their strengths, gifts, and talents to persevere through anything that comes their way,” Ruckdeschel said. “We want them to become successful and productive citizens in our community and beyond.”
Members of the graduating class listened attentively to speeches from superintendent Matt Robbins and Ruckdeschel, who encouraged them to live positive lives. Classmates Johanna Poyner and Skylar Broesch reminisced about their time in high school before the senior slide show incited some memories.
Graduate Houston Coons reflected on his time at Heritage Park, citing an encouraging staff as a vital component of the school’s positive atmosphere.
“My high school experience, overall, was a blast – everyone at Heritage park is very supportive and lets you know they care,” Coons said. “To me, graduating is a doorway to the future and success; without it, the door remains shut.”
Coons battled stomach issues and anxiety for most of his high school career, which significantly impacted his grades and attendance. He said the staff at Heritage Park put him back on track, allowing him to re-take courses and exit high school with a high GPA.
Coons is currently working on movie sets as an extra, an opportunity that “stumbled into his lap.”
“I never sought after the opportunity. No one really expects to get a call from someone wanting you to be working with A-list actors,” he said. “It’s a very fun experience and a lot of time on the road, but well worth the outcome.”
Coons will attend Owensboro Community and Technical College in the fall and major in criminal justice to become a detective.