|HHS celebrates 34 graduates|
|Written by Darci Tomky|
Friends, family and classmates were all on hand Sunday, May 11, to celebrate as 34 proud students crossed the stage as the newest Holyoke High School graduates.
Decorated in teal and black, the HHS gym was full as the Class of 2014 marched in to a processional led by the high school band.
“We are expecting great things from you,” said Superintendent Bret Miles as he welcomed the graduates and their guests.
Valedictorian Trevor Dalton was honored for his perfect 4.0 grade point average. “Everyone commented on how close we are,” he said in his speech. “In the end, we all have the feeling we are like family.”
“Don’t be afraid in what’s to come,” Dalton advised his class as they take this next step forward. “Just believe in yourself.”
Members of the HHS Class of 2014 share a laugh as they remember some good times from school during the commencement ceremony in the HHS gym Sunday afternoon, May 11. Graduates are pictured from left, front row, Jasmine Conde, Trevor Dalton, Federica Detomas and Susana Dominguez; second row, Ashley Humphreys, Andrew Kent, Alyssa Killin and junior usher Dylan Kotch; and back row, Ryan Krogmeier, Jacinda Krueger, Shaylee Krueger and Zuri Lopez.
Graduate Meg Strauss was named salutatorian. Not only was the Class of 2014 like family who continuously builds each other up, but Strauss also pointed out they were dubbed the involved class. “And involved we are!”
“Through this involvement, our different personalities are illuminated,” she said. “Soon we are going to take these personalities out in the real world.”
Citizenship awards recognized one senior girl and one senior boy at Sunday’s graduation ceremony. Jim Gribben and Susan Roll Walters of the American Legion Post #90 and Auxiliary presented the awards to Trevor Dalton and Eva Penzing.
Special music Sunday afternoon featured seniors in the high school choir with “Gone, Gone, Gone” and select choir’s “Wake Me Up,” both under the direction of Marcia Dalton. The high school band, directed by guest conductor and former band teacher Pat Wiebers, performed “Prelude and Fugue.”
As HHS Principal Susan Ortner presented the Class of 2014, she told them “What Students Really Need to Hear,” an echo of the advice from a blog by Chase Mielke.
She said she loses sleep because of her students and that she cares about them, not just about their test scores but about them as a person.
Academics are not the main event. “The main event is learning how to deal with the harshness of life when it gets difficult—how to overcome problems,” she said. “It is your resilience in conquering the main event—adversity—that truly prepares you for life after school.”
Ortner challenged the graduates to make hard choices, make sacrifices and deal with short-term pain for long-term gain. Some students are failing the main event by quitting, by taking the easy way out.
“As long as you are in my life, I am not going to let quitting be easy for you,” she concluded.
The graduates crossed the stage to receive their diplomas, with handshakes and congratulations from school board members Kim Killin and Jon King, special presenter and recently retired school board member Jeff Tharp, HHS counselor Summer Maloney, Miles and Ortner.
Students proudly stood in front of the crowd as their scholarships and future plans were announced.
An emotional special presentation gave students a chance to recognize family, friends and staff members with flowers, often accompanied by many hugs and tears.
Class president Alan Madrid finished out the program with his farewell speech.
“Thank you so much for supporting us and cheering us on,” he told the crowd. “Yes, it’s a small town, but we’ve got big dreams. I believe we all have the potential to do something big.”
As always, the Class of 2014 was “Keepin’ it Classy” as graduates threw their caps and walked out on a red carpet to “Good Riddance” by Green Day.
Temperatures in the 40s, a cold rain and strong winds weren’t quite what students were hoping for, but friends and family braved the conditions as they made their way to graduation parties the rest of the afternoon and evening.
Holyoke Enterprise May 15, 2014