Grain Valley graduation

By Mike Genet
The Examiner

Grain Valley High School  

113th Commencement 

Wednesday, Cable Dahmer Arena, Independence 

The Grain Valley High School Class of 2021 graduated Wednesday night.

Class size: 320 graduates (129 cum laude or greater) 

Top 1 percent: Nathan Weidt, James Barnard, Kara Eaker 

Post-secondary: $4.1 million in first-year scholarship awards 

Class speakers:  

Hannah Lytle (student): She offered her classmates a line of advice attributed to Anthony D’Angelo, to “Become a student of change. It’s the only thing that will remain constant.” 

Even before the pandemic, she said, students had been dealing with the constant changes at Grain Valley High School wrought by construction to expand the facilities. Then, after suddenly shifting to online learning last spring, they dealt with all sorts of pandemic-related changes and cancelations their senior year. 

“We had to remember anyone we saw in the last 14 days – just in case,” she said. “They were challenges we all had to face as the result of change.” 

Graduation brings a change with both fear and excitement, Lytle said, but it’s also one where they can have more control. 

“We all share that experience,” she said of dealing with changes, “but we get to use thn  at experience differently.” 

Pete Carpino (faculty): Carpino, an assistant basketball and football coach and physical education and special education teacher who is retiring, implored the graduates to take care of little things, because “little things add up to big things in critical situations.”  

First, he said, “Make your bed” to start the day. As Admiral William McRaven explained in his book of that title, making one’s bed is the first thing you can accomplish in a day and gives a sense of organization. Carpino went on to list various tasks one could undertake that people will appreciate: emptying the dishwasher (after washing your hands), taking laundry out of the dryer and folding it (again, after washing hands), or mowing the lawn. 

Life will be a roller coaster, Carpino promised, “But the ups and downs will be so much smoother if you take care of the little things.”