Bengals commence into the great beyond

Their caps and gowns the same blue as the summer sky above them, the Blaine High School class of 2014 commenced from Bengal Stadium June 10.

Some 750 graduates bid a celebratory farewell to their high school careers that evening and took their first steps into the great beyond.

A fellow Bengal photo bombs Alexis Wenzel and Brianna Welsch, grinning for the camera before receiving diplomas during Blaine High School’s June 10 commencement exercises. Photos by Sue Austreng

A fellow Bengal photo bombs Alexis Wenzel and Brianna Welsch, grinning for the camera before receiving diplomas during Blaine High School’s June 10 commencement exercises. Photos by Sue Austreng

Graduates filed onto the football field to the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance” performed by the high school band and then sang the National Anthem, led by concert choir seniors and translated by American Sign Language interpreters.

Principal John Phelps welcomed the graduates and their families, school board members Marci Anderson, Jeff Simon and Bill Harvey, and retiring Anoka-Hennepin School Superintendent Dennis Carlson.

“This is your superintendent’s final commencement ceremony and that’s fitting because he lives in Blaine,” Phelps said.

Next, class orator Allen Bergstedt stepped to the podium to address the class of 2014. But first he paused, then turned and snapped a selfie, a sea of blue behind him where fellow graduates gathered on the football field for the commencement ceremony.

“That was important. I had to do it because I never want to forget these people,” Bergstedt said later.

Turning back to face his classmates, Bergstedt then urged them to, “find one thing you do amazingly and you love … Our future and the future of our country and our world relies on us pursuing our passions.”

“Innovation and passion has changed the way we live our daily lives. The world needs you. Embrace your future, make it count and use that slip of paper they’re about to give you to change the world.”

Phelps then bid the class farewell.

“Today is not a finish. Today is a new start and tomorrow is a new world,” he said to them. “Thank you class of 2014. Good luck to you and your future.”

After graduates Danielle Larson and Carlee O’Donnell sang “For Good” by Stephen Schwartz, the class was officially accepted by school board member Marci Anderson and diplomas were awarded.

Finally, as the sun slowly set behind their alma mater, the Blaine High School class of 2014 tossed their caps into the air, celebrating the close of their high school career and the start of the next chapter of their lives.

Sue Austreng is at sue.austreng@ecm-inc.com

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