Ready for the next chapter

MNW says goodbye to 52 seniors

-Messenger photo by Deanna Meyer
Jared Stopczynski, one of three valedictorians from the Manson Northwest Webster Class of 2024, addresses his peers Sunday during commencement ceremonies in the high school gymnasium.

MANSON — Thirteen years of focus and commitment culminated in a day to remember for 52 Manson Northwest Webster graduates Sunday as they celebrated commencement ceremonies in the high school gymnasium.

“We are here to honor each of you as you take that next step in life,” said Principal Kenny Shannon.

He told the MNW Class of 2024 that life can be defined by two steps — first, finding their gifts and talents, and second, sharing those gifts and talents with the world to make it a better place.

The challenge, Shannon said, is to continue to grow and mature to make step No. 2 a reality.

For Manson Northwest Webster graduates, some of those next steps include college, while others are entering the armed forces and still others plan to enter the workforce.

-Messenger photo by Deanna Meyer
MNW graduate Tucker Smith takes a white rose from lead commencement usher Evelyn Droste as MNW High School Principal Kenny Shannon looks on.

Three seniors achieved the distinction of being tied for class valedictorian and the privilege of addressing their classmates one last time. Those seniors were Rilynn Lawman and siblings Jared and Lydia Stopczynski.

Lawman reminisced about growing up in MNW schools, where she and her classmates played kickball and took naps for granted in elementary school, graduated to the “unnecessary drama” of middle school, and finally reached high school where they began to branch out and be who they wanted to be.

“We learned how to be teammates, leaders, motivators and overall better people,” she said.

Lawman said there may have been moments her peers thought graduation wouldn’t happen, “but here we are sitting in our caps and gowns waiting for our name to be called to get our diplomas.”

“We did it; you did it,” she said. “And once you receive your diploma, your life will be in your hands and you will be able to accomplish great things.”

-Messenger photo by Deanna Meyer

Next to address the class was Jared Stopczynski, who said that while graduation is “a huge accomplishment,” his class did a lot of big things throughout high school.

He reminded his peers of the many life skills they learned, not only through their classes, but through participating in sports and the fine arts. A personal favorite memory for Stopczynski was beating Pocahontas Area in football, which he described as a “huge dream come true.”

He also highlighted the MNW dance and speech teams’ successes.

“To make all these different dreams come true, it took a ton of hard work and lots of support from our parents, teachers and coaches,” he said.

He reminded his classmates to “thank those people who have helped you achieve your goals up to this point and who will continue to be there for you as more of your dreams come true.”

-Messenger photo by Deanna Meyer
Christian Vaudt walks to the stage to receive his diploma Sunday during commencement ceremonies at Manson Northwest Webster High School.

Lydia Stopczynski gave the final address, sharing three lessons she’s learned that “go beyond the textbooks and lectures.”

The first lesson is to “surround yourself with good people.”

“Your friends will influence your choices, your actions and your attitude,” she said.

But even more important, she said, is to be a good person for others to be around.

“In doing this, good people will gravitate toward you and your positive energy as you strive to be the best you can be.”

-Messenger photo by Deanna Meyer
MNW graduate Jordan Kenyon takes a white rose from Evelyn Droste Sunday during the commencement ceremony at the high school.

Second, Lydia Stopczynski stressed the importance of hard work, saying their future occupations — whatever they may be — will all require hard work.

“I believe that success comes through hard work,” she said. “Success isn’t just given to you because you wish for it; you have to work for it.”

Finally, she advised her peers that “change is not a bad thing.” Stopczynski said change has helped her develop confidence, people skills and new outlooks on life.

“Don’t let the fear of change stop you from experiencing a whole new world.”

As the MNW Class of 2024 prepared to embark on the next chapter, Stopczynski sent them off with the words of Dr. Seuss: “You’re off to great places. Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting, so … get on your way.”

-Messenger photo by Deanna Meyer
Desteny Dupuy, left, plays her flute with the Manson Northwest Webster High School band one last time during commencement Sunday. Next to her is Ella Niewoehner. The band played the song, "Home," under the direction of band instructor, Erica Logan.

A few moments later, after each senior was called to the stage to receive their diploma, the Class of 2024 moved their tassels from right to left, signifying the completion of their high school careers.

-Messenger photo by Deanna Meyer
Rilynn Lawman is all smiles as she prepares to enter the gym for the start of commencement Sunday at Manson Northwest Webster High School.

-Messenger photo by Deanna Meyer
MNW graduate Carson Widlund receives a hug from his parents, Tricia and Justin Widlund, after receiving his diploma and presenting his mother with a white rose Sunday during commencement ceremonies.

-Messenger photo by Deanna Meyer
Lydia Stopczynski shares some life lessons with her classmates Sunday during commencement ceremonies at Manson Northwest Webster High School.

-Messenger photo by Deanna Meyer
Kiran Jones plays her French horn with the Manson Northwest Webster High School band during commencement Sunday.


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