Sunday, May 24 marked the graduation of another Hettinger High School Class. The class of 2015 is one of the smallest classes in Hettinger’s history with only 15 students, having as few as 10 one year.
By AMY WOLFF | For The Record
Sunday, May 24 marked the graduation of another Hettinger High School Class. The class of 2015 is one of the smallest classes in Hettinger’s history with only 15 students, having as few as 10 one year. Many of the graduates have known each other since it all began with their first day of school so many years ago, while others came along over the years to complete this outstanding group of young adults. On Sunday they were joined by family and friends from all across the country filling the Roberts-Reinke Auditorium to witness these students be honored for all of their achievements.
The ceremony began at 2:00 p.m. with the Advance of the Colors by the Johnson-Melary Post 115 and members of the high school’s choir beautifully performing the national anthem. The honor ushers, Elizabeth Thompson and Michael Shirek followed, making way for the honored guests. Katie Wolff, first in class and McKinsey Jahner, second in class, lead the way, followed by Jaylee Mattis, Cassandra Andress and Tanya Huisman, all with high honors and honors, after which the remaining classmates walked out in alphabetical order.
McKinsey Jahner gave a warm welcoming to everyone who had made it to this exciting event and thanked those who made it possible. She did a wonderful job setting the tone for what this day was all about and what was to come. The HHS choir performed the song “Never Alone” exquisitely, visibly stirring the emotions of some of the graduates who had been preparing for this day since their schooling began. Two senior addresses followed, one by Jaylee Mattis, another by Cassandra Andress. Both girls gave lovely speeches, thanking those who helped them along the way, wishing their classmates a bright future and sharing some entertaining stories and memories of their classmates, most humorous of all, the numerous accounts of Kevin Sandgren’s many injuries over the years.
Counselor Darin Seamands then announced the scholarships that were received. Scholarship winners included McKinsey Jahner (The Jacob ‘Jake’ Christman Memorial, The Ted and Nan Uecker Memorial, The Geraldine Marion Memorial, The Robert Plum Memorial, The Lloyd and Marion Schoeder Memorial, NMB Scholarship and Sister Thomas Mary Scholarship), Cassie Andress (Dakota Western Bank Scholarship, WRHS Joyce Stippich Memorial, WRHS Foundation Scholarship, The Evelyn Olson and Julie Merte Memorial, The DJ Shults Memorial, National HOSA Scholarship, Dacotah Bank Scholarship, and NMB Scholarship), Jaylee Mattis (WRHS Internal Denim Day Scholarship, WRHS Joyce Styptic Memorial, WRHS Auxiliary Scholarship, WRHS Foundation Scholarship and Consolidated Scholarship), Katie Wolff (The Nancy Beth Uecker Memorial, Gate City Bank Community Scholarship, the Erickson Memorial, the Jim and Lucille Clement Elementary Education Scholarship, the DJ Shults Memorial, The Hattie K. Tedrow Memorial from the American Legion, BHSU Buzz Bonus Scholarship, Wells Fargo Scholarship, and The Peter and Luarella Hasenmueller Scholarship from BHSU), Annie Johnson (The Claude Marion Memorial, The Earl Rosenow Memorial, HEF Jeans for Charity Scholarship, and the Director’s Academic Scholarship), Tanya Huisman (The Joseph Marion Memorial, HHS Student Council Scholarship, VCSU Award of Achievement, The Evely Olson and Julie Merte Memorial, The Robert and Bev Fitch Memorial, and The O.G. and Elaine Reinke Memorial), Patience Cummings (Night Hawk Drug and Alcohol Coalition Scholarship in memory of Fawn Jacobsen), and Ashley Miller (The Jerry Hasche Memorial).
Just following the announcement of scholarships was the presentation of diplomas by Principal Greg Johnson, Superintendent Larry Sebastian and Hettinger School Board Member Scott Mattis to a cheering crowd of proud supporters, welcoming these kids, now truly adults into an exciting, albeit somewhat daunting new world.
A very personal touch was added to the day with the traditional senior slideshow, created by Katie Wolff and Ashley Miller. Pictures of the seniors were accompanied by messages from their families and their favorite quotes, as well as a number of pictures from school picture day over the years and special events and occasions they had shared together. At the end of the slideshow the parents were presented with roses from their children and Katie Wolff gave the closing remarks. She reminisced on how, while so many things have changed, much has remained the same, adding some much needed humor as so many worked on drying their eyes, again citing Kevin’s talent for getting hurt and even her own lisp that occasionally sneaks out. Moving on from the memories of her class, she provided a few words of wisdom and motivation for what the future has in store for them reminding them that, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”
After the speeches, scholarships, slideshow and songs, it was time. A crowd of proud parents and supporters were officially presented with the graduating class of 2015. As the gym cleared, the graduates congregated outside for congratulations and well wishes. To the surprise of many, the weather held out and they were able to enjoy hugs, handshakes and a few pictures without having to worry about getting rained on. Many went to the town armory afterward where the majority of the graduates had tables set up displaying pictures and accomplishments, gifts and cards. Once everyone had a chance to enjoy some refreshments, they went their separate ways.
Some of these graduates will go on to colleges, while others will move directly into the work force, but one last thing binds them all. After the memories, after the shared triumphs and failures, after the friendships, they have all successfully graduated and are bound for great things ahead of them. You have made your community very proud, the best of luck to you wherever you go and in everything you do. Congratulations Class of 2015!