Saxony Lutheran High School Principal Mark Ruark gets excited about this time every year. That’s because Saxony will once again hold its annual graduation ceremony this weekend and the seniors will be able to participate in one of life’s milestones.
Saxony Lutheran will host a ceremony Sunday, May 15 at 2 p.m. in the school’s gymnasium and for Ruark it feels like the school year had barely started and here it is coming to a close.
“This school year has just flown by,” Ruark said. “It feels like just yesterday we were gearing up for the 2021-2022 school year and here we are at the end. It has been a great year for our students and our staff and when things are going well, everything does seem to go by quickly.”
Ruark felt like Saxony Lutheran as a whole has had great successes both academically and athletically this past year. More importantly to him he felt like things have reached a level of normalcy that hasn’t been there the previous two years with COVID-19.
“It played an overwhelming role in everything that we were doing,” Ruark said of COVID-19. “To be able to spend a year relatively free of that has been one of the biggest reasons it has been a great year. Our seniors have appreciated that most of all because they are probably the class that had their high school lives disrupted the most.”
There will be no disrupting the graduation ceremony as 58 Saxony seniors will hear their name called and walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. It will be the fifth largest class in the history of Saxony Lutheran High School. (63 students graduated two years ago, which is the largest class)
As has become the custom at Saxony, Crusader classes have routinely garnered more than $1 million in scholarships earned, and this year is no different as Ruark estimated that the threshold will once again be exceeded.
“I don’t have the exact number, but I’m proud of the fact that we have reached that number once again,” Ruark said. “I think what sets us apart from others is that the number is scholarship money that has been accepted, not just offered.”
Saxony Lutheran will have a pair of speakers this year as Savannah Spencer will give the student address, while Public Relations Coordinator and Administrative Assistant Dawn Ozark will be the staff commencement speaker. Ozark was chosen by the senior class.
“This class has gone out of their way to recognize staff members who have made an impact in their lives,” Ruark said. “Mrs. Ozark has an ability to make relationships with students and that is reflective in the fact that she was chosen as the speaker.”
No matter the year, number of students, or circumstances, Ruark always holds each graduation ceremony in a special place in his heart.
“For me as principal, it is the best day of the school year,” he said. “For the students, it’s the crowning accomplishment for them up to this point in their lives. I get very emotional and proud every time I see one of our classes walk across the stage and get their diplomas. It is the reason I do what I do.”
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