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Saxony Lutheran celebrates the class of 2022

Saxony Lutheran High School graduated 56 seniors on Sunday, May 15, in the Gerhard Birk Gymnasium. Photo by Jay Forness

Saxony Lutheran High School’s Class of 2022 graduated on Sunday, surrounded by family, friends, teachers and fellow classmates. “This class has fanned the flame of spirit within them through their multitalented and innovative ways,” Principal Mark Ruark said.

Ruark highlighted several of the students graduating from Saxony. Savannah Spencer was recognized as one of the top 200 seniors in the state by the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals. She was honored for being in the top 0.5% of Missouri’s 60,000 graduating seniors.

Hiren Parekh was also recognized for recently competing at the 2022 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair. His project consists of chemically producing a potential treatment for stomach cancer in a lab to make it more obtainable and economical. “We have a student who may really find the cure for cancer,” Ruark said. Parekh will continue his research at Yale University.

Jarrett Baker was recognized for winning the spring national title in NBA 2K22 e-sports competition, becoming a national champion, and Kaden Meyer was recognized for bringing men’s volleyball to Saxony this year.

The class of 2022 has been a part of 19 district athletic championship contests and won seven championships – including back-to-back women’s volleyball district wins. The men’s basketball team was also recognized for beating Notre Dame for the first time in school history during the homecoming game.

Saxony’s 20th graduating class had an average composite ACT score of 23, which is three points higher than the state and national average and is among the highest composite scores in the state of Missouri.

Seventy percent of the graduates received at least one-college scholarships, with an average scholarship award of $31,991. In total, the scholarships earned and accepted by the class was $1,279,000.

In addition, 70% of the class has earned a combined 511 college credits. 29% of the graduates have earned a full semester of college credit at the time of graduation. Ruark said this was the highest number of duel credit hours by a class in the past five years.

Graduate Savannah Spencer was chosen as the student speaker and Dawn Ozark was chosen by the class to give the commencement address. Ozark is the public relations coordinator and administrative assistant for the school.

Spencer shared that her father’s order of life – graduate high school, go to college, get a job, fall in love, get married and raise a family. She said this was the day her class completed her father’s first step in life, but she argued that her father missed a previous step that was left out – going to high school.

Spencer reminded about her first day as a Saxony student, where the class was asked to play icebreakers tomeet each other. “The nervous group of kids we met almost four years ago would turn out to be our closest friends, our biggest supporters and our Saxony family,” she said.

Ozark reminded the graduates that “once a crusader, always a crusader.” She said she will always see them as crusaders and they are ready no matter where their lives take them. Ozark asked that the class close their eyes and hold on to a memory of their time at Saxony.

“We will not forget your smiling faces, your personalities, your drive or the talent you have shared with us,” Ozark said. “Always remember and lean on the foundation planted in you from your time at Saxony.”

During the ceremony, senior choir members performed “I’ll Always Remember You” and the senior instrumental ensemble played “Wellerman.” The 2022 class gift was a camera to allow live action to be recorded at all sporting events.

The graduates will be spread out over 27 different universities, junior colleges and technical schools across 10 different states. In addition, five graduates will be entering the work force after graduation.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past five years. He can be reached at

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