An Eagan High School student receives her diploma.

Over the last two weeks, District 196 handed out over 2,100 diplomas during nine graduation ceremonies, making the class of 2018 the second-largest in district history.

Family, friends, staff and, of course, graduates filled to capacity all ceremony sites, especially after rain forced Eastview, Eagan and Apple Valley high schools to move their events indoors on Saturday, June 2. Rosemount High School held its graduation at 3M Arena at Mariucci due to construction, while the School of Environmental Sciences had picture perfect weather earlier in the week.

This year’s graduating class racked up a number of high-profile accolades, including dozens of athletic and academic accomplishments, acceptance to Ivy League universities, commitments to post-graduation military service and an unprecedented commitment to community service.

Most impressive during the events were student speakers who used their voices to praise their high school experiences, reminisce about their years in District 196 and encourage their fellow graduates to make a positive difference after high school. In a comically relevant speech, Eagan High School senior Joshua Drucker spoke candidly about leaving high school without all of the answers but the desire to be successful.

“We don’t know who we are yet, so we try on some costumes. But somewhere in side of us is a real us. Whatever that means. It’s hard to be yourself, especially in high school because being yourself requires vulnerability. Eventually we’ll take off the masks, but for now, we pretend… So, if we’re going to be pretending, let’s pretend to be nice. Pretend to try and pretend to have enthusiasm. But most importantly, know when not to pretend. These are the times when we need to be more than a superhero.

“But we’re going to have to pretend to be our own superheroes. We can’t just sit back and wait for other people to save us, especially from the problems our generation has to deal with. What will future teachers say about us? When our kids go into high school and they bring home their history textbooks or their history chip implants, what’s it going to say about right now? And more importantly, how are we going to fix it? We will save the world. I don’t know how yet. But we will. So, let’s pretend for real.”

To the District 196 class of 2018, we are incredibly proud of your accomplishments and grateful for the legacy of educational excellence you are leaving for your younger peers. Congratulations!

Videos of graduation ceremonies are available on the District 196 YouTube channel. For photos of the ceremonies, visit the District 196 Flickr page.

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