Haines High School graduated 20 seniors on Tuesday evening. One student said ‘we are not just a group of students who attend classes together, we’re a family as well.’
“If I had given a choice when I first entered high school, I probably would have never picked this small group of people to be my classmates for the next four years,” said Salutatorian Jennie Humphrey “But now, after what seems like an eternity of assemblies, testing, presentations and field trips, I realize that I would not have wanted it any other way.”
Humphrey was the first student to speak at the graduation ceremony. She said, when she thinks of the class of 2015, one word comes to mind: humor.
“As a class we are constantly laughing, and usually not at the most appropriate of times. We use the often stressful days of high school into a time of fun and entertainment. I laughed every day at Haines high school.”
Humprey didn’t need to provide evidence of that humor. Graduate Kyle Klinger did that, when he put on a pair of sunglasses and sauntered around the gym, serenading the crowd with Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good.’
The humor continued in valedictorian Keegan Sundburg’s speech. He addressed something on everyone’s mind: it’s getting really hot in this gym full of people.
“I see you fanning your faces with the programs like you’re about to pass out,” Sundberg said. “Think about how I feel. You should be down here fanning our faces.”
But Sundberg did get serious after a few minutes. He told his classmates about his guiding principles: time management and dedication.
“I’ll tell you right now, there were countless days in my high school career when I thought the work I was doing was pointless. All the math matrices and subject-verb-predicate nonsense really gave me a run for my money. Like come on, am I even gonna use this in my future? The little things that seem to have no use are what really make a person strong. Those were the days I had the toughest time staying dedicated to my school work, but all I could do was push through.”
Hard work was also a theme in commencement speaker and high school teacher Lilly Boron’s speech. She told graduates to let their roots in Haines strengthen them during difficult times.
“Your families, your teachers and your community has invested much in your future,” Boron said. “What will you do with it? That’s the big question.”
Boron talked about pushing herself to take up running. She started out running for 30 seconds at a time, and after a while, she was able to run several miles in a race.
“If you’re standing still, get up and start walking. If you’re walking, run. If you’re running, spread your wings and fly. We’ll all be watching,” Boron said.
The 20 graduates are headed to college, jobs and vocational programs. Students were awarded about $60,000 in scholarships for their next steps.
“Now, graduating class of 2015, I’m proud to say congratulations,” Sundberg said. “We made it.”