The Class of 2013 graduated from Coon Rapids High School Sunday.
The 48th annual commencement ceremony for 581 seniors took place at Mariucci Arena on the University of Minnesota campus.
There were two student speakers chosen by audition – Frances Kanneh and Stephen Braschayko – as well as remarks by Anoka-Hennepin School District 11 Superintendent Dennis Carlson and Principal Dr. Annette Ziegler.
Kanneh told her fellow seniors to give themselves a round of applause and to “give honor to your parents” for encouraging them and never giving up on them.
She also thanked the teachers for “helping and teaching us to do our absolute best and wanting us to succeed,” Kanneh said.
And to her fellow graduates, she said, “Enjoy the moment. You deserve it.”
“Seize today, seize tomorrow and the next day as well,” Kanneh said.
According to Braschayko, society picks winners and losers, but he sees it differently.
Winning is doing what you want to do in your life and being happy doing it, Braschayko said.
He quoted Sir Winston Churchill, the late former British prime minister, stating that this is not the end, nor the beginning of the end, but rather the end of the beginning.
At school, students have learned useful facts that have expanded their knowledge base to be built on in the future, Braschayko said.
Graduating from high school is a “real milestone” in students’ lives and is a time to thank family and friends, according to Carlson.
District 11 is graduating some 3,000 students this year, the most in the state, and 300 of these are receiving their GED, Carlson said.
Others have also earned college credit, in a few cases already achieving their associate degree, saving $13 million in tuition, he said.
The best part of his job is when he is talking with students, Carlson said. “You are great young people,” he said.
Ziegler asked the graduates to stand and applaud their parents and family members for “supporting and embracing you on this journey,” she said.
The Class of 2013 has made positive choices and “reinvigorated school spirit,” Ziegler said.
In delivering the invocation, Senior Class Leader Grant Farley, the emcee, urged his fellow graduates to “follow your destiny.”
The commencement program also included the Coon Rapids High School Choir ensemble, Raven Street Project, under the direction of Patrick Geiger, performing “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” while the Coon Rapids High School Band, directed by Brian Duffy, played the processional and recessional.
Peter Bodley is at firstname.lastname@example.org