2018-05-31 / Front Page

Fewer grads to receive diplomas

Ceremonies all this weekend
Amy Hubbell
of the Enterprise staff

The smallest class of Leelanau County graduates in recent history will receive diplomas this weekend in five separate ceremonies.

Just 142 seniors are scheduled to turn their tassels at the county’s four public school districts and Lake Leelanau St. Mary, down from 153 last spring and more than 100 fewer than a decade ago.

In 2008, Suttons Bay boasted the largest graduating class in the county with 74 students, followed by Glen Lake (73), Leland (43), St. Mary (22) and Northport (12).

This year, grad numbers dropped in two of the four public schools, edged up one at Leland and more than tripled at Northport, which graduated just four in 2017.

Glen Lake, the county’s largest school in terms of enrollment and area, will celebrate with 54 graduates, down from 67 last year.

And while there may be fewer students walking across the stage at Sunday’s graduation ceremony, the top scholars will take the podium to speak for the first time since 2010.

It was then that Glen Lake did away with the practice of naming valedictorians and salutatorians for academic achievement, instead issuing “honor cords” to the top scholars.

“We’re looking for a way to recognize our top academic performers,” Principal Brian Hartigan said in noting the change.

Top scholars will be determined by grade point average. In the case of a tie, SAT scores will be considered — and if need be — the number of Advanced Placement (AP) courses taken.

“Most times, the SAT scores should do it,” Hartigan said.

In addition to the valedictorian and salutatorian, Glen Lake will identify “Laker Scholars” with white cords. The designation goes to seniors who have taken a minimum of four AP classes and earned a B average in each.

LuAnne Dreves, daughter of Doug and Freda Dreves, will give the valedictory address. Cade Peterson, son of Tim and Michelle Peterson, will speak as the salutatorian.

Glen Lake’s graduation is set for 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the school’s big gymnasium.

Suttons Bay and Leland have nearly an equal number of graduates at 30 and 29, respectively.

Suttons Bay’s Class of 2018 is 16 fewer than the number that received diplomas last year.

Top scholars Emma Grant and Amelia Hall, valedictorian and salutatorian respectively, will take the podium at Suttons Bay’s graduation set for 3 p.m. Sunday.

Keynote speaker will be retired teacher and principal Roger Arvo.

Seniors at Leland and Northport will receive diplomas sooner. The Class of 2018 at both schools will be recognized in commencement ceremonies — both scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday.

Valedictorian Christian Guest and salutatorian Jessica Pershinske will be speaking at Leland along with first/ second grade teacher Ashley Suttmann.

Northport’s graduating class is the largest in recent history with 15, which is more than three times the 2017 class which numbered four.

“Every class has its own personality; quite often, the larger the class the larger the personality,” said Neil Wetherbee, Northport superintendent. “However, variation in class size is something we are used to. Even looking back into the 1930s, we had 32 graduates in 1932, nine graduates in 1933, and back up to 36 in 1936.”

Ryan Blessing, Northport’s 2008 valedictorian, is the keynote speaker.

Also taking the podium will be valedictorian Lillian Kinker and salutatorian Emma Adams.

Lake Leelanau St. Mary’s senior class also outnumbers the class of 2017. Fourteen grads will don cap and gown for Sunday’s commencement at 5 p.m.. Last year’s senior class numbered eight.

Top scholars Madelynne “Maddie” Gregory and Alexandra “Lexi” Schaub, class valedictorian and salutatorian respectively, will speak.

Judy Guinan of Suttons Bay will give the commencement address.

Grads will also be recognized at the baccalaureate Mass on Sunday at 11 a.m. at St. Mary Church.

This year, the Leelanau School will have nine students graduate at 11 a.m. Saturday at “graduation green” on campus.

Three of the Leelanau School grads are four-year seniors, meaning they attended the private Glen Arbor school each year since grade 9.

Ten years ago the Leelanau School had a graduating class of 20.

Return to top