Work hard, but have fun
It was a turning point for the 109 students who graduated from Storm Lake High School on Sunday, May 26. As one student speaker said, their lives would never be the same.
"I'm now forced to leave everything as a memory," graduating senior Veronica Espana told her classmates.
She called her four years at SLHS a "wonderful thing."
"Little by little I adapted to the people and their culture. It wasn't easy," she said. "The only way you can see, what it is, that I'm trying to say is by experience. Words cannot express what presence could. It is a step beyond words."
She said friendships "will have to be tested by distance."
"Our leaving brings a touch of sadness, different from many others, because we leave a part of us behind," Espana said.
With the sentimental, also came humor from a trio of speakers - Katie Johnson, Brooke Overturf and Jesse Smith - with their "good, bad and ugly" list.
About driving, they said:
"The good - getting our driver's licenses," Overturf said.
"The bad - school routes, speeding tickets and gas prices," Johnson said.
"The ugly - our school parking lot," Smith said.
And one about weather, they said:
"The good - summer is almost here," Overturf said.
"The bad - a long, cold winter," Johnson said.
"The ugly - not having any snow days our senior year," Smith said.
The three speakers did have their serious moments.
"There's times where we just can't wait to get out of here, but the truth is, we'll always look back to these carefree days and the friendships that we've shared," Overturf said.
Smith wished his classmates good luck. "But no matter where the path leads you, always remember one piece of advice: 'Work hard, but have fun doing it,'" he said.
Johnson thanked all of the people that have impacted their lives. "Our administrators, teachers and parents, but above all we want to thank our friends," she said. "We'll miss you guys and you won't easily be forgotten."
The last two speakers talked about the respect they learned throughout their years at Storm Lake High School.
"When we first stepped into the halls of Storm Lake High School we respected the faculty because we were told to," said graduating senior Callie Schons. "Now, as we leave the Storm Lake School District, we respect the faculty because we want to and because they deserve it."
Schons and fellow speaker Jessica Keen asked the parents of the graduates to stand.
"Look around at these people. They are the ones that have shaped us into who and what we are today," Schons said.
"They cried with us, laughed with us, and hugged us when we needed it the most," Keen said. "As we approach one of the biggest transitions in our lives, we need you more than ever."
"We need you to cry with us, laugh with us, hug us, and help us to let go," Schons added. "With you by our sides this step in our life will slowly get easier."
The two also placed chain links made out of cardboard on each of the seniors' chairs. "The class of 2002 is like one long chain," Schons said. "We are all connected in some way, shape or form."
The 2002 class colors are green and white, with the class flower the white carnation. The class motto is, "All of our yesterdays may be gone today, but they will live forever in all our tomorrows."
The high school concert band, chamber choir and chamber orchestra performed at the ceremony. Also, the concert choir performed "Untraveled Worlds," by Paul Halley, with words taken from "Ulysses" by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Students graduating with a 4.0 grade point average or higher included John Armstrong, Katie Johnson and Brooke Overturf.
Those with a 3.75 or above grade point average include Timothy Brink, Amanda Brummer, Mehdi Dastrange, Chad Hotovec, Ashley Huffman, Nathaniel Inglis-Steinfeld, Tara Konradi, Nathanael Otto, Michael Pierce, Somphane Rattanavong, Matthew Schimmer, Karen Sennert, Nickolas Skibsted and Jesse Smith.
Those with a 3.5 or above grade point average include Ryan Bonebrake, Stephen Brown, Scott Ellens, Rory Fulcher, Kayla Gutz, Tejal Patel, Callie Schons and Kelly Schultz.