And They’re Off!

In a ceremony full of tradition and tears, the community paid tribute to the Graduating Class of 2019. Many community members remarked that it was the best graduation ceremony they had ever attended. Perhaps it was the less-than-usual crowd size, as the rather small class of twenty-four allowed for some wiggle room in the Gem Valley Performing Arts Center. Or, it could be attributed to the excellent speeches.

Leading the class were  Class President Alexis Sorenson, Salutatorian Paige Johnson, and Valedictorian Katie Hulse. Miss Johnson reminded her classmates as they prepare to venture out into the world that they should not expect everything to go perfectly. Some of the greatest people of our time, she explained, were not instant success stories. In fact, many of the most successful people, including Michael Jordan, J.K. Rowling, Walt Disney, and Henry Ford faced rejection and repeated failure. Nevertheless, they persevered until they were recognized for their talents and hard work.

“Take a step back, alter your situation, and adjust your focus until you can see clearly.”

— Katie Hulse

Valedictorian Katie Hulse metaphorically likened the lifetimes of memories of her classmates to images captured by a photographer. Just as the photographer  takes more pictures than are needed, adjusts her angle and focus, and selects the best ones to spiff up in PhotoShop, the graduates will create memories that become the snapshots of their lives. As they do so, they will need to remember to step back, adjust their focus, and generate many experiences to reflect back on.

Gathering together for one last time, the Class of 2019 prepare for the big ceremony.

Principal Stephen Brady shared personalized memories of interactions he had with every single graduate. There was nary a dry eye in the room as Principal Brady proved to be a leader who does not sit behind a desk everyday, but takes the district’s vision statement of developing relationships seriously.

Superintendent Holyoak with his wife and keynote speaker, Andrea Holyoak.

Taelor Froelich introduced the keynote speaker, Andrea Holyoak. As adviser of the popular Social Dance Club and as the wife to Superintendent Holyoak, Mrs. Holyoak has also had the opportunity to develop relationships with many of the graduates. Andrea reminded the students that while their education in core subjects is important, the deeper lessons they have learned over the years about the quality of character are more important. She captivated the audience by reading a children’s book, Ella Phamumps Gets Over the Grumps, and emphasized that the most important skills the graduates will need include the abilities to learn from mistakes through self-reflection and to always be kind.