MPS graduation week: Marshall High School class kicks off ceremonies

An exciting week for Milwaukee Public Schools seniors started Tuesday, May 31 – the first day of graduation ceremonies that will continue through Friday.

"The best class of this decade," said Marshall High School Valedictorian Jaden Bandy.

Smiling graduates and proud families filled UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. Marshall High School's graduation kicked off the week.

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"We feel good. We just finished school. We can actually say that we all finished school, this is like an out-of-body experience right now," graduate Semaj Kelly.

More than 3,000 seniors will walk the stage throughout the week to receive their diplomas. Being able to do so in person meant a lot to the students.

Milwaukee's Marshall High School graduating class of 2022

"That’s a grateful experience, because last year they had virtual graduation – don’t nobody want to go through that," Kelly said.

Several caps and gowns had a personal touch. Two friends remembered loved ones who passed away.

"I wanted to keep their name alive and keep them going, so I made sure I incorporated them," graduate Laila Phillips said.

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"I’m happy I made him proud, and he’s probably smiling down on me," said graduate Ashanti Reeves.

As the graduates celebrated with a somewhat normal ceremony, Bandy felt grateful the school year ended on a high note.

Milwaukee's Marshall High School graduating class of 2022

"It was amazing," he said. "Got to make up for lost time with my friends because we had COVID junior year."

Bandy aspires to be a robotics engineer. He had a message for the 2022 class.

"I want them to go chase their dreams. And no matter the circumstances, I want them to still be able – to still run after that," said Bandy.

Each ceremony is also available through a livestream and download