Graduating Bobcats take next step into future

MANISTEE — It wasn’t the typical graduation send off at the Kaleva Norman Dickson School District on Friday, while the Brethren High School Class of 2018 released 35 blue and white balloons outside, symbolizing their new journey.

Senior class president Kayla Conrad gave the 2018 commencement ceremony farewell address, starting with a special thank you to her fellow classmates.

“We were always there to support one another in the end,” said Conrad. “Our class is not perfect, but no matter what happened to any of us we were always there for one another. I hope that we continue to support one another when we go our separate ways.”

Both salutatorian Taylor Cordes and valedictorian Whitney Dean felt the weight of their words when speaking to their classmates, giving emotional speeches that reminded the class that their life stories have only just begun.

“Every great story ends where it begins,” said Cordes, quoting a former English teacher. “Our great story is ending, right here. But my fellow classmates don’t let this be the only story you’ll ever write.”

Lending final words of advice, Dean reminded her classmates to cherish the good times and always take the road “less traveled by,” as Robert Frost once said.

“Take the time to get to know those around you, it will be well worth it,” said Dean. “We made it. I know how relieved you all must be, so in closing I would just like to leave you with this: Enjoy this time while you have it, take it all in…”

Superintendent Marlen Cordes welcomed guests and students, congratulating all of the graduates on their new-found adventures in life. He also thanked the Kaleva Norman Dickson Board of Education for their dedication to students.

“Behind me I have a group of people who have made literally hundreds and hundreds of decisions to impact the education of these young adults before you today,” said Cordes.

Keeping the tradition alive, the Brethren High School Band played the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Following, a slide show of memories throughout the years was shared, featuring photos of the graduating students.

Keynote speaker Jason Kemler, class adviser, told students to be daring when they go out into the world, and never be afraid to take on a challenge.

Sending off the 35 graduates was principal Jakob Veith, who presented the diplomas, congratulating each student on their new alumni status, alongside Heather Stapley, president of the KND Board of Education.

Students who graduated with honors were Nick Kemler, Hannah Fairbanks, Kara Porter, Pii Nordstrom, Jordan Fleetwood, Jaden Young and Jenny Wayward.

After each student proudly crossed the stage, tassels were moved from right to left and the recessional song was played by the high school band, in honor of the Brethren Bobcats.

Veith left students with final thoughts.

“Seniors this is the moment you’ve been waiting for your whole life,” he said. “Be proud of yourself.”

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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