SANDPOINT — Together, the Sandpoint High School’s class of 2019 has experienced life, separately they will pursue their dreams, and forever those memories will remain.
Taken from their class motto, this statement reflects the 202 SHS graduates who are beginning the next steps in their journey after receiving their high school diplomas Friday evening.
“We, class of 2019, are the evidence that success does come from determination,” said this year’s valedictorian Alana Seifert. “Whether we knew what we were doing, or faking it from the start, we had enough in us to keep going.”
It was an evening of reflection for the graduating class, as each of the speakers talked about high school, their experiences, the classes, teachers, family and others who helped them succeed.
Seifert reminded her classmates how strong they are, and that while giving up during “extremely challenging” times will undoubtedly cross their minds, with a little determination and help from others they will live through those challenges to the “good times that await” them all.
For the opening remarks of Friday’s commencement ceremony, senior class president Alana Baumgartner and vice president River Feuling addressed their classmates together. Baumgartner said it was fitting since they were the only senior class officers for the 2018-2019 school year.
“I speak for the both of us when saying it has been an honor to be a part of the graduating class of 2019,” Baumgartner said.
As for their high school experience, Feuling said the “most special” part is that they were all there together. Over those four years, she said, they became family.
“We created a family here in small Sandpoint, Idaho, that will last forever,” Feuling said. “We have concluded that the time we spent will not be measured in years, but instead by friendships and memories we share as a class. Now it’s time to branch out and gain new experiences in new places, always knowing our roots are here in Sandpoint.”
Co-salutatorians Chloe Braedt and Adele Marchiando also reflected on their high school years, from swimming at City Beach and “shredding it” on a powder day at Schweitzer, to all of the classes they took in high school and whether they were “really” needed.
In kindergarten, Marchiando said, she had two graduation requirements — count to 100 and tie her own shoes. While tying her own shoes made sense at the time, counting to 100 seemed useless. Now, she said, it is the opposite. Counting to 100, and much higher per the price of college, make complete sense. However, it has been a while since she has tied a pair of shoes.
“My guess is that all of this information that our teachers have been packing into our heads will be sort of similar to those kindergarten requirements. Some of those things we thought were useless will be incredibly important. And some of the things we assumed we will be using everyday, like the intricate inner workings of cellular biology of course, perhaps won’t be quite so important — and it will be different for each of us.”
Marchiando gave credit to all those who have “thrown” information at them, as it will guide the teens into the future.
Braedt said while classes and academic pursuits were a significant part of their lives, the experiences and memories created together will last even longer.
“I feel grateful for the wonderful people I know,” Braedt said. “My high school experience would have been so different without them.”
She encouraged her classmates to be excited for the new experiences that await them, but to not forget the old ones.
SHS Principal Tom Albertson told the graduates how proud he and the SHS staff are of their accomplishments, not just in high school, but for the 13 years they spent learning and preparing to become the leaders of tomorrow.
“Along the way you have faced challenges, hurdles and losses, but I want to remind you that you have picked each other up through laughter and tears, met the academic challenges, guided each other through making connections, and created a positive school culture, all the while laying the foundation for your future,” Albertson said. “Walk forward with hope, knowing that you have the support of your friends, parents, teachers and the great community of Sandpoint. Good luck, and remember to take what you have learned and pay it forward.”
Mary Malone can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.