Anoka Tornadoes graduate at Goodrich Field

A cloudy gray sky cast a pale over Goodrich Field the afternoon of June 3, the day of Anoka High School’s 141st annual commencement ceremony.

But Principal Michael Farley kept the faith, determined to award diplomas during an outdoor ceremony that evening. And then, as if on cue precisely at 7 p.m., clouds parted and the sun shone through, casting a brilliant spotlight on the Class of 2013.

Farley stepped up to the microphone, greeting the Class of 2013 and welcoming family and friends who gathered to celebrate the Tornadoes’ achievement.

“I am truly humbled and blessed to be principal of Anoka High School,” Farley said. “I stand here with a smile on my face and pride in my heart for the class of Anoka students before me.”

“My heart is thunderstruck and so full of emotion – Each of you have made Anoka proud and we have learned so much from you … I am confident the Class of 2013 will do great things.”

“From my heart I tell you I’m proud of you. I love you. And I know you will make a difference in the world.”

Class speaker Cory Odom then addressed classmates, first comparing them to a burrito, then characters in a fairy tale, then “an old, beloved car.”

The scratches and dents, the rust and the scrapes each give reminders of milestones reached during the graduates’ high school years, he said.

“But this ride in our old, beloved car is over – We are now in control. Our parents are no longer in the passenger seat telling us which way to turn,” Odom said.

“Use this vehicle to forge your own road and go where no one has gone before.”

The second class speaker, Isabella Dotzler, then took the stage and said life is like a butterfly.

During the caterpillar stage (aka the feeding stage) “we are feeding on knowledge, we are growing, feeding on life,” Dotzler said.

The pupa stage is one of transition, she said.

“That’s high school. And with all we have learned, we are still preparing for the future,” Dotzler said. “Tonight – at our high school graduation – we enter the butterfly stage. We are here because we made it through. We wanted to change and learn and grow and become – and we have.”

“Tomorrow begins the journey of new discovery and opportunity. Don’t let anyone stop you because wings are meant to fly – Go fly into the rest of your life.”

And then, Farley presented the class and diplomas were awarded to the 527 members of the Anoka High School Class of 2013.

Eagerly anticipating the next chapter in their lives, graduates Bruno San Roman, Gabby Sanchez, Jamus Sargent, Tanner Scheurer, and Samantha Schiro stand ready to accept diplomas during the Anoka High School commencement ceremony. Photos by Sue Austreng Class speaker Cory Odom urged classmates to “use this vehicle to forge your own road and go where no one has gone before” as he likened graduation and the high school years of the Class of 2013 to an old, beloved car marked with scratches, dents, a little rust and a few dings – reminders of the milestones reached during those remarkable years. Anoka High School Principal Michael Farley congratulates graduate Rachel Palm. Peter Hastings, vice president of the Anoka High School Class of 2013, steps away from the stage after receiving his diploma.  Proudly gripping diplomas in hand, Anoka High School graduates file from the stage during the June 3 commencement ceremonies. Graduate Kristin Maas wins a congratulatory embrace from her boyfriend, who also presented her with a bouquet of roses. Cassady Lewis steps down from center stage after receiving her diploma. Joseph Cerisier accepts his high school diploma and congratulations from Principal Michael Farley.  Anoka High School Class of 2013 graduated at Goodrich Field June 3. The Anoka High School Class of 2013 assembles on Goodrich Field, eager to receive hard-won high school diplomas.
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Class speaker Cory Odom urged classmates to “use this vehicle to forge your own road and go where no one has gone before” as he likened graduation and the high school years of the Class of 2013 to an old, beloved car marked with scratches, dents, a little rust and a few dings – reminders of the milestones reached during those remarkable years.

Sue Austreng is at [email protected]