Hopkins 2022 Graduates Honor Their Past Before Walking Across the Stage Into Their Future

Three students wear decorated graduation caps.

Hopkins High School seniors took one last walk down memory lane before walking across the stage to accept their diplomas and graduate.

Seniors returned to their former elementary schools to the sound of applause and cheering from current students and teachers — some of whom were former teachers of the graduates. They walked the halls where their Hopkins journey began — with a taller vantage point — and reminisced about all that they’ve learned and accomplished. It was a full-circle moment for many and a meaningful way to wrap up their Hopkins journey before closing the door on their K-12 experience.

The Senior Walk is a beloved tradition that began in 2017. Hopkins High School was not able to coordinate the event the past two years due to the pandemic. Being able to resume the Senior Walk this year was an important step towards normalcy and felt extra special for the seniors, staff, and students in all buildings.

The tradition is loved not only by graduating seniors, but it also gives our younger scholars something to aspire to in the future. Elementary students created signs of congratulations and held their hands out in anticipation of high fives from seniors as they walked through the hallways. It's an opportunity for them to see first-hand the exciting futures that await them and what they will one day experience when they graduate from Hopkins High School.

Class of 2022 Legacy

The Class of 2022 graduated on June 2 at the 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis. Principal Crystal Ballard addressed the graduates in her commencement speech reminding them of all that they overcame during their high school career.

“This year, for you, was surprisingly unique because it was actually your first full year of high school,” Ballard said.

Members of the Class of 2022 were in their sophomore year when the world shut down in March of 2020 due to the pandemic. The next year was a mix of distance learning and hybrid learning, but never returned to anything that felt quite normal. The Class of 2022 demonstrated resilience and adaptability. They navigated uncharted territory and made it to graduation. All 536 seniors leave a legacy in Hopkins and have rich stories worth recognizing. Here are a few snapshots:

Edgar Kinanga decided to do something about the water fountains at North Junior High, which were not easily accessible for all students, after being encouraged to speak out and make change in his AVID class. Using his critical thinking and advocacy skills, plus a laser focus on equity, he leveraged his voice and presented his proposal to leaders. The result? Accessible water fountains at North Junior High.

Siri Sagedahl graduated with a rich, global perspective. She is a member of the XinXing Chinese Immersion program and is leaving Hopkins fluent in Chinese language and culture. She is involved with the robotics team — the Technocrats — and recently competed at the world's competition. Next year, Siri will continue her Chinese education with a minor in Chinese at St. Olaf College.

Imani Kerre-Mongi developed the courage and confidence of a great leader with her work on the Legislative Action Coalition, Model UN, and as a Student School Board Representative. She knows the importance of looking outside of your own country and culture to attain a globally-minded understanding of the world to better serve those she represents.

Cole Kehrberg’s bright attitude and collaborative spirit made him instrumental to Hopkins Speaks Out, a student advocacy group that elevates student voice to impact administrative decisions at Hopkins High School.

Monica Robles was thrust into a leadership role in the high school pep band as their Drum Major. She overcame her self-doubts and developed the confidence to lead the band with poise and grace. Her story and example will encourage other students to take on leadership, even if they do not yet see themselves as leaders.

Class of 2022 graduation speaker Taubie Saunders said it best. “Hopkins has taught us that a little adversity is okay,” she said. “Through all of the changes, trials, and successes we have been through, we have still managed to find the positive in it all.”

The Class of 2022 has a bright light that they bring to the world and the entire Hopkins community can’t wait to see what they do with it!