Originally Published The Nugget News June 7, 2016
Author Charlie Kanzig
One hundred and twenty-four young men and women formally moved into the next stage of their lives at the 68th commencement of Sisters High School on Friday, June 3, in front of a capacity crowd in the SHS gym.
Tradition ruled the evening’s ceremony, as highschool faculty, dressed in their black gowns and university hoods, led the procession into the gym to “The Imperial March” from Star Wars. The music transitioned to “Pomp and Circumstance” as the graduates filed in to the front in pairs and threesomes.
The Sisters High School Jazz Choir, under the direction of Rick Johnson, proceeded to wow the crowd and honor the flag with a stirring rendition of the national anthem.
Principal Joe Hosang followed his formal welcome with a few words to the class of 2016, which he has seen through since they entered four years ago. He quoted American author and motivational speaker Og Mandino as his parting words of wisdom:
“Remind thyself, in the darkest moments, that every failure is only a step toward success; every detection of what is false directs you toward what is true; every trial exhausts some tempting form of error, and every adversity will only hide, for a time, your path to peace and fulfillment.”
Hosang proceeded to honor salutatorian Rory Petterson, who will attend Brigham Young University next year, with a gift before giving up the microphone to the three valedictorians.
Bethany Bachmeier, who plans to attend Oregon State University, shared a heartfelt thanks to the staff and faculty of Sisters High School. She started by acknowledging the custodians as the “unsung heroes” of theschool who also often let her into the gym to shoot her basketball. She noted that no matter how early she arrived at school or how late she left, teachers and counselors could be seen in their rooms.
“Our staff cares about the future of each student, and as such are the foundation of this school,” she said. She concluded by acknowledging the confidence the class has gained, saying, “We were never taught to give up. This is who we are.”
Tara Greaney will attend Dartmouth University in the fall but remarked that no matter where the members of the class of 2016 venture in the future “in our hearts we will still be the kids from a small mountain town, because this is our home and we will always be Outlaws.”
The final speaker, Michaela Miller, focused on the class motto: “Believe in the promise of tomorrow, but live today to the fullest.”
Due to her grandfather’s influence, Miller’s belief is that “happiness is a choice; a choice that breeds success” and she said, “My wish for all of you is that you find contentment and joy.”
Seniors Ross Grant, Noah Eckstine, Megan Ellsworth, Jessica Shepardson, Cody Martin. Sedona Baer and Nina Horner provided special music and the group knocked it out of the park with their rendition of Green Day’s “Time of Your Life.”
Another pair of traditions followed as seniors presented flowers to mothers and mentors and then the seniors turned their seats around to see the screen in anticipation of the musical slideshow featuring senior pictures paired with baby pictures. Technical problems hijacked the show within the first two minutes and could not be overcome. However, the slideshow “Class of 2016: Then and Now” can be viewed in its entirety here: https://vimeo.com/169494307/beb44adb45.
Recovering from the technology setback, the seniors turned their chairs back around and prepared to receive their diplomas. Superintendent Curtiss Scholl greeted each graduate with a handshake, and Principal Hosang delivered the diplomas.
Moments after the final name was called, Hosang presented the graduating class of 2016. Tassels were moved from right to left, mortar boards flew and the newest Outlaws alumni sped out of the gym to the appropriately titled senior song by Rusted Root: “Send Me On My Way.”