Park Rapids class of 2014 graduates
By Nick Longworth
Loud popping sounds sent confetti - shot by fellow classmates - falling from overhead; as it fell down, silly string shot wildly through the air, accompanied by more pops and (you guessed it) – more confetti.
Park Rapids Area High School class of 2014 was officially graduated.
Their final ceremony as classmates began at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 25 in the high school gymnasium.
Prelude music was played by the high school band and led by their director John Cook.
Senior class vice president Spencer Adolphson began the ceremony with a few words of welcoming remarks, reminding the class of 2014 to cherish the time they have together right now.
Adolphson then turned the attention over to the concert choir, led by LouAnn Dierkhising.
“This is the end,” began student council president Calvin Bateman, who shared a few choice memories of times the class enjoyed together. Bateman reminded them that they might never all be together in the same room again, but ended with an optimistic eye toward the future, saying, “Remember, you only graduate from high school once, so make it last. Ready or not, here comes the best years of our lives.”
Valedictorian Abigail Fischer spoke to the crowd and her class after Bateman, first by thanking those who have been influential to her throughout her high school education, and then thanking her fellow classmates and congratulating them on “making it.”
“Everything we have learned is part of a larger curriculum,” Fischer said. “Applying what we have learned will be crucial in order to be successful going forward.”
Fischer reminded her fellow classmates that they can’t buy happiness, and encouraged them to take advantage of every opportunity.
“Find the things that truly make you happy, and share that happiness with others. Relationships allow you to grow, and there is more to life than wealth,” Fischer said.
The final student speaker before the class of 2014 would receive their diplomas was salutatorian Taylor Graham, who spoke about lessons she had learned through the sport of swimming, and other unwritten rules of life. “Choose not to be average, but great,” said Graham as parting words of advice to her fellow class.
High School Principal Jeffrey Johnson spoke briefly to congratulate his seniors, before turning the attention to senior class president Ryan DeLaHunt, who one-by-one would call his classmates up to receive their diploma.
With diplomas in hand, the celebration began.
“If that’s the least we have to do is clean up a little confetti after everything that they have been through it’s pretty minor, and it’s a good way to end their career at high school,” said Superintendent Lance Bagstad.
“I think it was an awesome ceremony. I loved the confetti, and I loved the silly spray; that’s a nice, simple way of celebrating. It was a nice way for them to end their high school career,” said High School Principal Jeff Johnson.
Both Bagstad and Johnson were optimistic about the potential of the outgoing class.
“They have the skills to go out and do well. They have to choose what they want to do and they can always fall back on what they have done here. They are good people and they will do well,” Bagstad said.
“Don’t go down the path that is easiest, but go down your own path. Take each challenge along the way, and each one will help them become the person that they want to be.”