Durant Graduation

Durant graduation celebrates with fireworks and heartfelt speeches

More than 50 seniors make the final walk, in front of friends and family


After the bell rang out 24 times, symbolizing the Class of 2024, Saturday, May 18, fireworks lit up the night sky. Just like that, it was time for Durant to say farewell to its beloved seniors.

“These people next to you have been your classmates, teammates, fellow class members, friends, and occasionally your competitors over the last four years,” said Isabelle DeLong.

She gave the farewell address to her fellow graduates, numbering more than 50, as they sat with their parents during a beautiful evening at the Wilton High School Football Field.

“Through it all, we have supported each other and made each other better,” she said. “This is something to be proud of.”

“Throughout these last four years, we have laughed, cried, struggled, succeeded, but most importantly, made memories that will last a lifetime,” she added.

Durant’s Class of 2024 took to the field at 8 p.m. to "Pomp and Circumstance," guided by the applause of all their family members and friends in the bleachers.

As they took their seats next to their parents out on the field, it was easy to see that tonight was going to be special. It signified an end, but also a beginning.

“Today, as we stand on the commencement of a new chapter in our lives, I’m filled with both excitement and gratitude,” said Michael Iossi during the welcome speech.

“Excited for the endless possibilities that lie ahead, and grateful for the journey that has brought us here today,” he said.

He talked about the journey ahead, the challenges and setbacks his class will face as they move forward with their lives, and moments of doubt and uncertainty.

“Though our time here was short, let us celebrate this significant milestone, and let us do so with a sense of triumph and satisfaction,” he said.

“Yesterday we stood as students, today as graduates, tomorrow we will be free, awaiting the next chapter of our lives,” he concluded to applause.

His speech echoed the motto for the Class of 2024 by Theodor Seuss Geisel, most commonly known as Dr. Seuss: “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

Durant Principal Joel Diederichs helped guide the events of the evening. He led the presentation of the diplomas and gave the graduates a moment to give flowers to their parents.

He also had the privilege of calling the graduates to stand as he honored them for achieving silver cords, receiving an Impact Award, MVP Program, or FFA cord, as well as being class officers and members of the student council.

“I know you are ready for the next chapter of your life,” he said. “You may not know the path that you’ll be taking and the adventures along the way, but I know you are prepared.”

“I challenge you with this: go boldly, go confidently, and most importantly, fulfill your dreams, and let your adventure begin,” he added. “Congratulations, Class of 2024.”

This year, the class colors were blue and gold, while the class flowers were blue and white carnations.

As the graduates marched towards the field, signs with their names lined the walkway, signs they would eventually bring home.

Senior choir members Isabella Buesing, Kaetlyn Hansell, and Lauren Huston performed “The Climb,” made popular by Miley Cyrus in 2009.

It’s funny to think that back in 2009, most of the graduating class was just being born. Now here they were, listening to a piece of music just as old as they were.

Graduate Kennedy Schumacher gave the class address before the presentation of the diplomas. She was just honored to be there.

“We have come such a long way since we first entered the halls of Durant High School,” she said. “At that time, we were wide-eyed freshmen who were uncertain of what our futures held.”

She thanked the families, teachers, coaches, school staff, and mentors that aided in her journey, and the journey of her classmates.

“Today’s not just about looking back, but it is also about looking forward,” she said. “We stand on the edge of endless possibility.”

“As we look to begin this new chapter, let’s not forget the values that have guided us so far: perseverance, integrity, empathy, and compassion,” she said.

She asked her classmates to make a positive impact on the world, using the knowledge and skills they had learned from Durant High School.

“To my fellow graduates, I say, embrace the unknown, chase your dreams, and never forget the lessons learned and the memories made during our time here,” she concluded.

After Principal Diederichs asked the Class of 2024 to move their tassels, signifying their completion of high school, fireworks lit up the night sky with light and color.

The ceremony that evening reminded the community to always move forward, no matter what their age.

Congratulations, Class of 2024!