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Ritenour Celebrates Class of 2022

As Ritenour High School’s 2022 graduates walked across the stage on June 4 with their diplomas in hand at Chaifetz Arena, their ceremony symbolized a return to tradition and normalcy.

The class of 2022 returned to Chaifetz for their graduation ceremony after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted plans for ceremonies at the venue on the Saint Louis University campus in 2020 and 2021. The class of 2020 received their diplomas in a drive-up fashion outside Ritenour High School; the ceremony for the class of 2021 was held outdoors at the POWERplex in Hazelwood.

This year’s 334 graduates earned their high school diploma after navigating most of their high school career with safety precautions in place due to the pandemic. The last three years of their high school experience included virtual learning from home, hybrid learning that combined home and in-school learning, quarantines, face masks and social distancing. This school year, all in-person extracurricular activities and athletics returned to a new normal.

Despite the obstacles of the pandemic, this year’s senior class had the largest percentage in recent years who finished requirements early. A total of 62 seniors graduated officially in December 2021.

Ritenour High School Principal Dr. Jana Haywood reminded this year’s graduates that they are resilient and ready to make a difference in the world. 

“Whatever choices you make, continue to write the pages of your story and share them with the world,” said Dr. Haywood. “May your words and actions always align with who you strive to be. May they be a catlyst for change in a world that embraces equity, diversity, inclusion, justice and liberation.” 

Student speakers at graduation were Azariah Estes and Tess Ostoff, who both will be attending University of Missouri-St. Louis. Both spoke about character traits that helped their class overcome obstacles and the beauty of earning their diploma.

“We have had 13 years of self discovery and identity, love and heartbreak, depression and laughter,” said Estes. “That’s what we made together.”  

Ostoff also shared in the pride of the class of 2022. 

“Our high school years may have been ‘unprecedented,’ and we’ve heard the word ‘COVID’ more times than I could ever count,” said Ostoff. “We have gone through so much that as we walk across this stage I hope that everyone feels the same ridiculous sense of pride that I do.”

Some highlights of the class of 2022 include: 

  • Seniors earned a total of more than $6.59 million in scholarships
  • Three seniors graduated with both a high school diploma and associate’s degree from St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley. They are: Azariah Estes, Santionio Resonno, Jr.  and Anna Wilson.
  • Ten seniors graduated with the Missouri Seal of Biliteracy. They are: Galia Rendon Luviano (Distinguished Seal of Biliteracy in Spanish); Shirin Awad (Arabic); Anna Wilson (German); Yaztin Chaidez (Spanish and French); biliterate in Spanish - Ashley Garcia, Nohemi Ignacio, Yemil Lopez Leal, Dayrin Oviedo, Elisa Reyes and Jessica Torres.
  • Four seniors were admitted early decision to highly selective colleges and universities early decision: Gabriela Rojo, Fortuna Kadima and Shirine Awad (Washington University); Ashton Miller (St. Olaf University).
  • Brittany Gutierrez, Richard McNary and Kaylyn Riggs received the Grow Your Own Scholarship from the Ritenour Pride & Promise Foundation to pursue a degree in teaching and return to Ritenour as educators after they graduate from college.