A tribute to the class of 2022

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Stacey Ruff

The PV girl’s volleyball team celebrated winning the state title earlier this year. This was one of the many accomplishments for the class of 2022.

Natalie Richmiller, Photo Manager

As the school year comes to an end, it is time to say thank you and goodbye to the seniors as they prepare to embark on the next chapter of their lives. Before that, take a look at what the class of 2022 has endured and accomplished in the last four years. 

Freshman year started with excitement for the new possibilities and nervousness for the unknown. Try-outs for sports, auditions for the arts and class schedules were at the forefront of everyone’s minds. 

The normalcy quickly ended with one of the most brutal winters in Iowa’s history. The school had five snow days, two late starts and one early out due to the weather. In order to make up for the lost time, the school ran until 4 p.m., and early outs were taken away. Being a freshman also meant that they had to stay until 4 p.m. every day as eighth period was a requirement. Students dreaded the long days and could not wait for the year to end. 

Senior Cecelia Fierce recalls her experiences as a freshman. “I remember everyone hated the end of the year. Every day felt so long and the only thing that got us through was the upcoming summer. In general, I feel like our grade has been very unlucky throughout these four years,” she explained.

Sophomore year began with the hope of a normal school year, but COVID-19 had other plans. School did not return in person after spring break and instead moved to 100% online. The students missed out on almost an entire semester of curriculum, and extracurricular activities were basically non-existent. 

Senior Ava Kwak feels that she missed out on a lot during her sophomore year. “I feel like the pandemic set everyone back and it also took away my track experience. It was devastating when I wasn’t able to see some of the people I was closest with,” she said. 

Junior year might have been the most hectic of all with the hybrid schedule during the first semester. Some students went to school every other day with early outs on Fridays while others remained 100% online. Learning was constantly interrupted, and it was difficult for students to make connections with teachers due to the schedule. 

The second semester brought back some hope with school returning to four full days and early outs on Fridays. Sports were finally able to resume as normal. The girl’s track and field team attended the state meet and brought home multiple medals. In June, the boy’s soccer team won the state championship title and the boy’s baseball team did the same only a few months later. 

The seniors went into their final year longing for the opportunity to make up for what they had lost within the past three years. 

Kicking back into full swing, the football team made it to the playoffs, and stars Aidan Kilstrom and Luke Vonderhaar will continue their football careers at Harvard University and the United States Air Force Academy, respectively. 

Homecoming quickly rolled around with Camryn Woods and Luke Vonderhaar as queen and king. 

The girls’ volleyball team with seniors Kora Ruff, Riley Morgan, Livia Thomsen, Alexa Frankel, Arra Cottrell and Campbell Wolfe brought home a state championship at the beginning of the year. Ruff will attend the University of Evansville where she will play on the women’s volleyball team. 

The boy’s basketball team had an outstanding season with a 20-0 record. Ryan Dolphin committed to Coe College and Joel Lawlor to Loras College. 

Sports were not the only successes this year. Chamber choir received multiple division one ratings and was invited to sing with multiple colleges. Numerous students also made all-state. The Leading Tones in jazz choir were selected for the Iowa Vocal Jazz Championship and placed fifth in the state overall. The drama club put on the musical “Urine Town,” and senior Caroline Sierk produced Frozen Jr. which had nine performances, both of which were sold out. Two events placed at all-state large group speech and two people placed at all-state individual speech.

In addition, two improv nights were also a huge success and the drama club concluded the year with an awards ceremony to celebrate the talented students. 

As the winter season concluded, spring break gave the senior’s one last vacation before taking on the rest of their high school career. The end of the year is full of AP tests, college decisions and the last high school experiences. 

“Going into the last semester, it is absolutely insane to think that this is it,” Fierce said. “We are never going to be high schoolers again and everything we do will be for the last time.”

The seniors had their last dance with Caroline Sierk and Ryan Saddler as prom queen and king. 

With only one season left for high school sports, the boys’ soccer team is moving onto the playoffs and the girl’s golf team is preparing for the state golf tournament. The boys’ baseball season has just begun with hopes to bring home another state title. 

“It has been amazing to see what our grade can do when we actually had a normal year. I’m so proud of everything that the class of 2022 has accomplished,” Kwak said.

With only a few days left, seniors are preparing to say their hardest goodbyes to the people who have shaped their high school experience. Teachers and high school friends will forever hold a special place within the hearts of this year’s seniors, especially after what they have encountered together since 2018. 

Thank you to the class of 2022 — for your strength, talent and ability to accept change gracefully. Congratulations on what you’ve accomplished in the last four years and good luck with whatever you choose to do next.