One senior provided a humorous perspective on just how quickly time had gone since her freshman year.
"I played Powder Puff football that year, and the only thing I remember is the ball being thrown in my general direction, and one of the junior girls coming towards me like a rhino, a locomotive, full speed ahead, bam!" said Anna Wulfekuhler. "...Then I woke up this morning."
The past four years of high school have brought brought challenging, yet positive transformation for students.
"Change is normally looked at as a bad thing; a thing most people struggle with and resist," said Erica Allen. "The changes we faced while in this building I see positively, because they made us who we are. Sure, we will continue to grow, change and evolve into better versions of ourselves in may years to come, but without these four years, we'd have no foundation."
For some, change was painful. Jaci Hermstad recalled losing her twin sister, Alex, at age 17, after a long, debilitating illness.
"Through these hard years, I've learned that life isn't something we should take for granted, and that we should live life every day to the fullest," Hermstad said.
Several music selections were performed by the school choir, band and orchestra, including "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "Foundry," "A Gaelic Blessing" and "Sine Nomine."
Superintendent Carl Turner announced academic honors for the following students:
GPA at or above 3.5: Erica Allen, Dallas Dornath, Victoria Emery, Joseph Patton, Marla Rodriguez, James Russell, Alyssa Solem and Laurena Wells.
GPA at or above 3.75: Erin Deters, Monica M. Figueroa, Mark Greenwalt, Chau Nguyen, Alexander Schriber, Kelsey Struck, Adam Ullerich and Anna Wulfekuhler.
GPA at or above 4.0: Kristin Anderson, Lan Nguyen, Ethan Smith and Sawyer Smith.
Class colors were green and white, the class flower a white rose tipped in gold. The class motto was: "Class of 2012, it's not the end; it's the beginning."
Before presenting the 153 graduates, principal Beau Ruleaux reminded the seniors they will always be part of the Storm Lake community, no matter where their future paths lead.
The Storm Lake High School Class of 2012: Genesis Aguilar, Erica Allen, Rolando Almendarez, Justice Altenburg, Kristin Anderson, Victoria Anderson, Luis Araiza Jr., Adam Archer, Erika Baker, Tiffany Baker, Britny Basner, Logan Borchardt, John Bral, Annabel Bravo, Azucena Bravo, Gerardo Bravo, Alexa Brewster, Alex Case, Moises Castro Jr., Paige Cavanaugh, Jazmin Chaidez, Kathzeryn Chavez, Andrew Chidlund, Derek Conklin, Amy Cords, Alfredo De La Cruz Jr., Mario de la Cruz, Liliana De La Torre-Nunez, Pel Deng, Miriam Deniz, Erin Deters, Dallas Dornath, Victoria Emery, Michael Leon, Monica Figueroa, Monica M. Figueroa, Anibal Flores, Daniel Flores, Skyler Foley, Taylor Friesen.
Jordan Galvin, Evelin Garcia, Hesduardo Garcia, Jose Garcia, Gerardo Garcia-Ramos, Gregory Germann, Erik Gonzalez Ballesteros, Cassidy Gransow, Mark Greenwalt, Trevor Gustafson, Kyla Heath, Jaci Hermstad, Sara Hixon, Nyathep Jangjuol, Ipsain Jiminez Barajas, Alexis Johnson, Po Jue, Tommy Khothisen, Kaylysa Ladner, Nhial Lam, Christopher Larsen, Chinnou Lee, Nyadhol Lieth, Halee Lloyd, Ruben Loera, Mayra Lopez, Sergio Lopez Martinez, Christina Lovig, Fabian Luna, Maximo Maldonado, Everardo Manriquez, Joshua Marihart, Olga Canales, Luis Mendez, Victoria Lee Mero, Marco Monsivais III, Danica Mosley, Sean Naughton, Brett Nelsen, Chau Nguyen, Lan Nguyen.
Trey O'Brien, Juwan Ocegueda, Erik Olson, Jacob Olson, Blake Overmohle, Lupita Parra, Joseph Patton, December Paw, Cassandra Perez, Oscar Perez-Valterria, Alanna Piercy, Rudy Pineda, Hta Poe, Jacob Porsch, Stephanie Pretrick, Jose Ramirez, Lydia Ramirez, Gerardo Ramirez Garcia, Randy Ramos Jr., Christian Razo Lopez, Garret Reed, Kyle Reimers, Mariah Reinders, Abraham Rios, Roberto Rios, Cindy Rodrigo, April Rodriguez, Jessica Rodriguez, Marla Rodriguez, Anthony Rolon, Roberto Ruiz Jr., James Russell, Jose Salazar Arce, Roberto Salazar, Janet Salcido, Isabel Sanchez, Lessly Sanchez, Jeff Sawvell, Cody Schreier, Alexander Schriber, Aaron Shadlow, Alyssa Sievers, Ethan Smith, Sawyer Smith, William Smith.
Alyssa Solem, Jackeline Salazar, Asuzena Gonzalez, Sunny Sriboonreuang, Kelsey Struck, Yesenia Gonzalez, Sara Tewes, Dylan Tornabane, Juan Torres, Duy Tran, Erik Trejo, Liech Tut, Adam Ullerich, Steve Uribe, Jenny Vang, Shoua Vang, Dulce Vargas Chavez, Maria Vargas, Yesenia Vidal, Hser Wah, Frashauna Washington, Laurena Wells, Anna Wulfekuhler, Mai Xiong, Nou Yang, Thai Yang, Sarahi Zermeno.
A wreath was displayed on the stage in memory of Alex Hermstad.