It’s official — Eden Prairie High School’s (EPHS) and EP Online’s classes of 2023 graduated on June 8 at Target Center in Minneapolis.
The EPHS wind ensemble, directed by Mike Whipkey, played the processional as students entered the stadium in their black caps and flowing robes, smiling and waving to their families and friends. Many students were also bedecked in colorful silk cords and stoles, representing various honors, leadership roles, and club memberships.
Once students took their seats, the EPHS chamber choir, directed by Jill Boyd, played the National Anthem.
Emceed by seniors Shreya Saini and Taslim Olad, the commencement ceremony featured speeches from Superintendent Josh Swanson, Principal Nate Gibbs, students Mary Margaret Mellen and Sara Sofia Pardo Martinez, and faculty member Quynh Vu.
Gibbs then announced the presentation of the diplomas. This was the first graduating class for Gibbs, who took over from Robb Virgin as the school’s principal at the start of the 2022-23 school year.
Gibbs complimented the seniors on their grit, resilience, and flexibility, especially in the face of challenges and limitations posed by the pandemic and distance or hybrid schooling.
“It goes without saying that the first years of high school for the Class of 2023 were much different than what they had expected,” Gibbs said. “They required our students to find new and different ways to build connections with each other, explore their interests, and create their own sense of identity as high schoolers.”
He added, “The resilience they have shown throughout this journey makes their impressive accomplishments even more meaningful. As they leave Target Center after our Commencement ceremony, I hope the Class of 2023 will take great pride and joy in who they have become, what they have overcome, and the remarkable chapters of their story yet to come.”
Connections teachers read the names of the students they have had in their homerooms, in some cases for four years. Students walked up in alphabetical order to receive their diplomas from Swanson and members of the EP School Board. The ceremony can be viewed online here.
The class boasted 756 graduates, 385 of whom attended EP Schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. Class members hailed from 40 countries and spoke 36 languages.
The ceremony ended with graduates taking part in the time-honored tradition of switching their cap tassels from the right to the left side, then jubilantly tossing their caps in the air.
Graduates then boarded buses back to their alma mater, where many attended the all-night lock-in senior party at the school.
Editor’s note: EPLN provides additional coverage of the EPHS graduation, capturing the students’ journey from the high school to Target Field for the Thursday ceremony, as well as their visits to the elementary schools they attended in the past.
We offer several ways for our readers to provide feedback. Your comments are welcome on our social media posts (Facebook, X, Instagram, Threads, and LinkedIn). We also encourage Letters to the Editor; submission guidelines can be found on our Contact Us page. If you believe this story has an error or you would like to get in touch with the author, please connect with us.