Graduates of Mt. Ararat High School’s Class of 2024 expressed their gratitude to the community during their commencement ceremony Sunday, June 9.

Superintendent Heidi O’Leary highlighted the changes in the world when the students embarked on their education journey back in the kindergarten school year of 2011-12. She remembers the evolving era of technology, social media, and the changing landscape of music and entertainment.

Class officer Sophia Gonzalez thanks the faculty and community of Mt. Ararat High School during the graduation ceremony on June 9. Paul Bagnall / The Times Record

“These snippets from your early years serve as a reminder of how much the world has changed and how far you’ve come,” O’Leary said.

She gave a special welcome dedication to members of the Class of 1974, which was the first graduating class of Mt. Ararat High School. Retired sports commentator Dale Arnold, a member of that class, spoke at the graduation.

Arnold remembers when Mt. Ararat High School was brand new and the challenges it brought during his time in school. He spoke about all the changes the world has gone through since graduating high school 50 years ago and went over what changes the graduating class might experience in their 50 years outside of high school.

Graduate Rose Tuttle (left) receives the Eagle Award from Principal Chris Hoffman during the Mt. Ararat graduation ceremony on June 9. Paul Bagnall / The Times Record

Class officer Grace Keleher gave thanks to Mt. Ararat High School’s tough love that shaped the 2024 graduating class into responsible adults.


“Today marks a significant milestone for not only us, the graduates, but also the incredible individuals who stood by our side every step of the way our families,” Keleher said.

Class officer Caleb Russell said that the 2024 graduates began their high school career during a global pandemic but were not in it alone. He thanked the high school faculty for putting students’ needs first.

Graduate Rose Tuttle thanked the teachers and staff, bus drivers, and custodians of Mt. Ararat High School for giving the 2024 graduates the gift of learning.

“Your dedication and commitment have played a vital role in shaping who we are today,” Tuttle said.

Benjamin Chonko, who shared valedictorian honors with Sarah Gray and Rose Tuttle, spoke about his goal to become the valedictorian of Mt. Ararat and what it took to achieve that goal.

“We have spent 1,400 hours of our lives in school,” Chonko said. “Over half of our day is spent in school, nearly 20% of our lives.”

Chonko remembers all the 2024 graduates’ hard work and valuable lessons learned at Mt. Ararat.

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