Family, Friends Gather to Honor Lakota Graduates

Family, Friends Gather to Honor Lakota Graduates
Posted on 05/25/2017
This is the image for the news article titled Family, Friends Gather to Honor Lakota Graduates

Photos of graduates celebrating

Streamers and confetti filled the air at Xavier’s Cintas Center last week in celebration of Lakota’s Class of 2017. Lakota East held its ceremony on Thursday to honor its 692 graduates, with Lakota West hosting its commencement exercises the following evening for 608 graduating seniors.

Students and faculty members addressed the thousands in attendance, sharing their perspective on the Class of 2017 and what lies ahead. The valedictorians presented their fellow classmates with a new way to reflect on their time at Lakota and the future.

Lakota East valedictorian Emma Stiefel asked her classmates to try to examine their past four years together through a different lens – by looking at what their lives will be like in 50, 60, 70 or even 100 years from now. 

“Looking at our lives from this perspective allows us to focus on the broad ways we want to grow and change the world rather than the inconsequential details of how we accomplish these things. It allows us to focus on what’s ultimately important instead of getting distracted by the often terrifying decisions we have to make now."

She concluded her speech this way:

"Over the next few days or years, whenever you find yourself worrying about what to do next or regretting what you already did, think about your much-older self.  Whatever your 50-year plan is, chase that, not a degree or a job or a salary, and know that there’s a version of you out there in the future who’s accepted your mistakes and lived a life worth living. Imagine that person, and become them."


Valedictorian Erik Isele shared these thoughts with the West graduates.

“A quick google search would say that we are all here because we completed 4 credits of English, 4 credits of math, 3 credits of science, 3 credits of social studies and a variety of other elective requirements and received a passing score on the OGT. You can tell the state loves their numbers, but that’s all they are: numbers. Our high school experience is more than completing requirements.”

Erik went on to discuss why their high school experience was important, and concluded that high school has taught all of them how to understand what really matters most: people. He noted that what will make one successful is the ability to build relationships and teams to bring about solutions, with the ultimate goal of "building new relationships to bridge the divided world we enter."


Get a closer look at the below to view our Facebook graduation photo galleries and YouTube videos.

Lakota East Graduation Photos

Lakota West Graduation Photos

Lakota East Graduation Video
Lakota West Graduation Video

What's Ahead, Words of Advice and Thank you Lakota

Members of Lakota’s Class of 2017 are now headed across the United States – and the world – for the next leg in their journey. Lakota East and West’s top graduates shared their future plans, advice for students just entering high school, and what role Lakota played in their success.

Lakota West valedictorian Erik Isele will be attending the University of Michigan to major in engineering physics and hopes to become a professor and incorporate research, while salutatorian Jordyn Hunter will attend Purdue University in the fall. Hunter will be double majoring in chemical engineering and possibly physics, then plans to pursue her doctorate to eventually become a professor as well. She credits Lakota for providing lots of challenging AP classes and for teachers that always took the time to help students.

East’s Emma Stiefel will attend the Minerva School at KGI where each semester students attend classes in different cities all over the world. She will double major in the equivalent of history and computer science; career aspirations include becoming a reporter for the New York Times or starting her own company.

East salutatorian Isa Malik will be student at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, majoring in biology with a pre-med focus. He said that his Lakota teachers were amazing – that they went beyond teaching subjects like science and social studies and provided him with life advice, they challenged him, helped him develop a good work ethic, and prepared him for college and his goal of becoming a surgeon, possibly a neurosurgeon.

Extracurricular activities played an important role for most Lakota graduates.

Stiefel credits East’s student newsmagazine, The Spark, for helping her discover her passion for journalism. She also enjoyed being on the school’s quiz and Science Olympiad teams. Stiefel said it was these Lakota extracurricular activities that proved to be the most pivotal in preparing her for college and beyond. Malik was a member of East’s quiz team as well, and explored music by being part of the school’s choir and theatre productions. The medical club helped fuel his passion for medicine.

Like the other top students, Isele was involved in a wide range of activities while in high school. He agrees with Stiefel that extracurricular options at a large high school offer students a diversity of experiences to prepare them for the future. Isele’s favorites were varsity tennis, InterAlliance, the Model UN and Mu Alpha Theta. Hunter really enjoyed her time on the quiz team, and playing club soccer was another highlight of her high school years. 



Fast Facts about the Class of 2017

Number of Graduates: 1,300 (East- 692, West – 608)

Graduation rate: 96.7%

National Merit Finalists: 12 

Percent attending a 2 or 4 year college or university in the fall: 80%

Graduates serving their country in a branch of the armed services: 46

Percent earning honors diploma: 25%

Scholarships reported by students: $18.7 million