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44 cross stage as newest HHS grads PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chris Lee   

Sunday, May 13 was a special day in Holyoke as 44 Holyoke High School seniors crossed the stage in the gymnasium to receive their high school diplomas. Equally as special, mothers all around the United States were celebrating Mother’s Day.

In Holyoke, graduating seniors had the chance to celebrate with friends and family as they became the newest graduates of HHS.

Adorned in black robes, the class of 2012 along with their family and guests were welcomed by Supt. Bret Miles.

Austin Killin was recognized as the class valedictorian. Killin addressed the crowd and began by an observation. He noted how much power his class has had over the years and how it has been refined.

“So what is this power we have? For one, we have the power of camaraderie,” Killin said. “Yes, after today, some of us may not see each other for a very long time. However, camaraderie is much more than a simple everyday friendship. It is a bond that we share throughout life.”

Killin went on to say the other type of power the class has is the power of opportunity. “This power is the power to do whatever we want when we grow up.”

“We are in the presence of future lawyers, doctors and farmers,” Killin said. He also took a moment to recognize three of his classmates who have chosen to enter the military. He asked the crowd to join him in applause for Parker Redfern, Broc Pelle and Matt Wittman who will all enter the service later this year.

“So as we go out into the world, we must remember what awesome power we have,” Killin said. “It is said a butterfly flapping its wings on one continent can cause a storm on another. In the same way, each of our actions can have effects with extents unknown. We must keep this in mind with every decision we make, with every road we take. We must make the most of every opportunity we have, because it is there for a reason. This opportunity that we have been given today carries tremendous power.”

Austin Killin

Killin’s classmate, Whitni Redman, was selected class salutatorian. She looked back on some memories and thoughts about the future.

“As many of you know, our class is rambunctious, loud and sometimes even annoying,” Redman said. “We are hard headed, crazy and ridiculous, but despite our personalities, we are the future.”

“Wherever our paths may take us, I know that one day we will all look fondly back at the memories we made here, whether it be getting soccer, football, kickball, four-square and even the playground taken away from us in elementary school. Or maybe the boys in body paint cheering on the Dragons at the home games, to even racing down the halls in swivel chairs.

“However, today is not the day to look back on the memories, today is a day that we start a new chapter in our lives and look forward to the future, whatever that may be.”

Whitni Redman

Amy Krogmeier and Killin were presented this year’s citizenship awards by Jim Gribben of American Legion Post #90 and Susan Roll Walters of the Legion Auxiliary.

Social studies teacher Nic Balog, upon request from the senior class, read “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss, which was accompanied by a slide show of the book.

As students received their diplomas Sunday afternoon, guidance counselor Summer Maloney announced their future plans, as well as scholarships they earned. Board members Jeff Tharp and Kim Killin presented diplomas. The class of 2012 earned $1,500,561 in scholarship money this year.

HHS principal Susan Ortner presented each graduate with small rulers and rings which were to be used to measure their successes. The rings symbolized a painting that hangs in the principal’s office which was on display Sunday afternoon.

Ortner also played a video titled “One Choice.”

2012 graduates Amy Krogmeier and Austin Killin were honored at Sunday's commencement ceremony when they were awarded the American Legion Post #90 and Auxiliary Unit #90 Citizenship Awards. Above, Krogmeier receives her award from Susan Roll Walters while Jim Gribben, below right, presents Killin with his award.

—Enterprise photos

After receiving their diplomas, graduates presented those special people in their lives with roses. Hugs were given and tears were shed as classmates were congratulated by family members and friends.

The senior high choir sang Journey in Peace under the direction of Marcia Dalton. Graduating seniors Jordan Zeiler and Brooke Parker performed I Hope You Dance. The senior high band performed Pirates of the Caribbean as well as the processional.

Class president Killin gave the farewell and said, “I guess the most appropriate way to do a farewell is to reflect upon all the class of 2012 has given the community and what it has given to us.”

“First and foremost, the entire community of Holyoke has been utterly amazing to us,” Killin added. “You have given us so much support in everything we have done for the past few years.”

Erin Lebsack poses for a photo with older sister Briana during
graduation last Sunday, May 13.  —Enterprise photo

The class president went on to thank the numerous people involved in the class of 2012’s lives, including administrators, teachers, parents and classmates themselves.

“As we say good-bye to a long, illustrious, hard-fought run, I want to thank my classmates for all the memories we’ve cherished in the past few years. Without a doubt, I have been entertained for a long time.”

Junior class grand marshals were Molly Brandt and Jesus Hermosillo, while Chandler Gerk, Erin Vieselmeyer, Brett Cumming and Ben Martinez served as ushers.

A baccalaureate was held before the graduation ceremony on Sunday with Pastor Max Hines of Holyoke Assembly of God delivering the message.

To view students' scholarships and future plans, click here.

Holyoke Enterprise May 17, 2012