Honor grad ceremony celebrates largest group in school history

A synopsis of a well-earned night


photo by Alexis Madlang

Senior Cade Rogers receives his honor medal from principal Frasca. He is a part of the largest group of honor grads in school history.

180. That is the number of seniors who will graduate with honors this year from Hagerty. In a class of around 600 members, that number is staggering. That number is a direct reflection of both students and their teachers’ hard work, as was the Honor Grad night held Tuesday April 19, at 6:30 p.m.

The night began with an introductory note from Principal Robert Frasca. Looking at the expansive rows of students, he congratulated the honor grads for their accomplishments thus far. 

Frasca soon introduced the Seminole County Public Schools teacher of the year, Matthew Malkovich. Malkovich is known by many seniors as the preeminent government teacher. Approaching the podium, he made a few passing remarks about his “best robotic speech,” and then delved right into the heart of the matter: how he would have never been an honor grad in high school, but that his coaches and teachers laid foundations that would lead to his success. Strewn in with his heartfelt message were jokes that kept the audience laughing and engaged. 

Malkovich, concluding his speech, would introduce me. 

There is something about bright lights and big crowds that excites a speaker. Looking out at faces which spanned the entirety of the auditorium, I felt the energy and devotion that had led to this moment. Sitting before me were kids who worked harder than the rest, and for their work, they had received the title of honor grad. It is a special feeling, and one I am happy to be able to share with you. I delivered a serious speech that centered around Winston Churchill’s famous lines: “Success isn’t final. Failure isn’t fatal.” Soon after, the real festivities of the night began.

Every honor grad in attendance was called on to the stage. Their college choice and prospective degrees were displayed for all to see. As they walked across the stage, they were adorned with an honor medal by Frasca and had a quote they live by read to the crowd. 

Some quotes were powerful: 

“We reach, because if we cease to reach we fail.”

Others were humorous:

“They say that nothing is impossible. But I do nothing everyday!”

Some were short:

“I’m always right.”

And some were long:

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Genius will not. Education will not. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On!’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

But all of them, each and every one of them, gave an insight into the largest group of honor grads in school history. 

After the students finished filing across the stage, Sana Yooseph delivered a speech which emphasized that grads should appreciate the present while not focusing too much on having their entire life planned. 

The top ten students of the class of 2022 were then called onto the stage. While not all were in attendance, those who came were handed a plaque commemorating their accomplishments. National Merit Semi-Finalists were also recognized for their accomplishments, standing and receiving applause for their awards. As many members of the administration would remark, in a class as advanced as that of 2022’s, to be in the top ten is quite an accomplishment. 

The night ended with final remarks from Principal Frasca. “I am proud, proud of this class for what they have done. This is our future.” he said. 

Congratulations to the class of 2022 honor grads. You earned every bit of your title.