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Saxony Lutheran High School graduates 54

Photo by Jay Forness

Saxony Lutheran High School’s Class of 2024 graduated on Sunday, surrounded by family, friends, teachers and fellow classmates. There were 54 seniors in Saxony’s 22nd graduating class.

“The Class of 2024 has proclaimed Christ in everything they do, and God has blessed them with tremendous success in all areas,” Saxony Principal Mark Ruark said.

Eighty-five percent of the class has earned a combined 759 college credits. 63% 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 earned by a class in Saxony history.

In addition, 78% of the graduates received at least one college scholarship, with an average scholarship award of $33,000. In total, the scholarships earned and accepted by the class so far has been $1,387,966.

Grace Ozark was chosen as the student speaker and social studies teacher Melanie Roth was chosen by the class to give the commencement address.

Ozark talked about every year of the graduate’s high school career, highlighting stories about the class. “We are ready to leap into this next chapter with the willingness to learn and grow,” she said. “We are excited to become leaders in our community and showcase what it means to be a Crusader.”

Roth spoke about making the waiting throughout their lives count. “All types of waiting involve some degree of patience. Regardless of what you’re waiting for, whether something good or bad, having patience and simply waiting can be a struggle,” she said.

Roth advised the graduates to use their time waiting to their advantage for personal growth and to strengthen relationships with those around them. She said the class was immensely talented, but they were not done learning how to use their gifts from God.

Senior choir members performed “Breakaway” and the Saxony band played a medley of songs from Beauty and the Beast. The 2024 class gift was home and visitor signs for Saxony’s Gerhard Birk Gymnasium.

Ellie Kratochvil was honored during the ceremony for being selected as a Missouri Top 100 Scholar. She was recognized as one of the top 100 of the state’s 65,000 graduating seniors by the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals. Kratochvil was also the first Saxony student to receive the National Rural and Small Town Award from the College Board National Recognition Program.

The graduates will be spread out over 24 different universities, junior colleges and technical schools across seven different states. In addition, three 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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