Yelm’s Class of 2022 Honored During Graduation at Tacoma Dome

By Jacob Dimond / jake@yelmonline.com
Posted 6/21/22

Yelm High School celebrated nearly 350 students at the Tacoma Dome as they sent off the Class of 2022 during a commencement ceremony on Thursday, June 16.

For the first time since the class of …

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Yelm’s Class of 2022 Honored During Graduation at Tacoma Dome

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Yelm High School celebrated nearly 350 students at the Tacoma Dome as they sent off the Class of 2022 during a commencement ceremony on Thursday, June 16.

For the first time since the class of 2019, Yelm High School graduates crossed the stage at the Tacoma-based venue.

Yelm’s Principal Curtis Cleveringa led the soon-to-be graduates into the Tacoma Dome to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstances,” a graduation classic, as those in attendance cheered on the seniors. 

After the Yelm High School choir performed the National Anthem, teacher Matt Mounts passed on a simple message to those in attendance.

“We are more than excited to be honoring the Yelm High School Class of 2022, here at the Tacoma Dome for the first time in three years,” Mounts said. “Thank you all for being here tonight to celebrate our seniors.”

Mounts then called the valedictorians and salutatorian to the podium to individually deliver their speeches.

The first senior to the stand was valedictorian Jackson Nelson, who delivered his speech titled “Perseverance Through Hardship.”

“It is my honor to stand before you in what is for many people a long awaited return to (normalcy),” Nelson said. “From a global pandemic, to the fight of social injustice and the uncertainty of our futures, we have experienced quite a bit in these last four years. … We stand here today, having successfully overcome these challenges.”

Valedictorian Chloe Hurd then began her speech by saying she was honored to even be graduating, let alone speaking on behalf of her class. Hurd then expanded upon some of the hardships the graduating class of 2022 faced, and the beauty of prevailing through the challenging times.

“We were forced to mature at the rate at which the world was changing, but we still found meaningful connections within one another and soared academically,” Hurd said. “It is important to reflect upon grad day not as the end, but as a step in our path. Today marks the beginning and I look forward to seeing our future accomplishments.”

Valedictorian Molly Corak then delivered her speech, titled “New Beginnings,” as she quoted Mr. Rogers who once said “often when you think you are at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.”



“I’m sure we can reflect back on high school and many things come to mind … but as we turn over our tassels tonight we turn over the last page of a chapter consisting of four years of our lives,” Corak said. “I encourage you to take on this new chapter of your life with a new mindset … and the intention to make these next few years some of your best.”

Valedictorian Jaelynn Carrier took to the podium next to deliver her speech. 

“Looking around, I see some of the same faces I’ve grown up with since kindergarten, and it is an honor to be able to finish school with so many of you. Each one of us has now turned the page in the story of life,” Carrier said. “This chapter has consisted of the times we’ve felt the most alive, our lowest moments, and most importantly the heartfelt experiences and challenges we have overcome.”

Salutatorian Mya Phelps said control was torn away from the students a little over two years ago as the pandemic “presented itself in the most chaotic way possible.”

“A life lesson presented itself,” Phelps said. “Gratitude for the little things. It seems we don’t realize the importance of the little things until they’re taken away.”

Principal Cleveringa then recognized the Class of 2022 as he called the commencement “a special graduation.”

“It showcases the resilience of the graduating class as they collaborate to become critical thinkers, leaders, and continue to show up as learners,” Cleveringa said.

Cleveringa honored the students who were set to attend either a university, community college, or a trade school. He also honored each of the exchange students at Yelm High School, and applauded students who planned to enter the workforce or the armed services after graduation.

Class officers Gavin Powell and Ralph Dahlburg then announced the winner of the Ed Bergh Born to Teach award, which went to Matthew Chisam.

Then FFA officers Jaelynn Carrier, Carla Gonzales and Tessa Jordan presented the Class of 2022’s senior gift. The three students invited Cleveringa to join them at the podium as they presented two benches that will be designated near the city’s library. 

Before students marched out of the Tacoma Dome to mark the end of their high school career, they launched their graduation caps into the air to applause from the crowd.

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