They made it

Published 12:08 pm Saturday, June 6, 2009

There was much pomp and circumstance, as well as the usual inspirational quotations and encouraging words, but the one thing the Austin High School Class of 2009 will remember is that it was their special day.

AHS bid 276 students farewell Friday night at its 133rd commencement at Riverside Arena.

The AHS orchestra performed the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance” while graduates walked in and the concert choir sang “In My Life” by The Beatles.

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The seven school board members — Don Fox, Mary Kleis, David Simonson, Kathy Green, Richard Lees, Curt Rude and Diana Wangsness — presented the diplomas. Assistant principals Katie Jerlow and Dan Reaves announced both students of Distinction (GPA of 3.6-3.89) and High Distinction (GPA of 3.9 and above).

Students of High Distinction were the honored speakers, in addition to principal Brad Bergstrom and interim superintendent Bruce Anderson.

“The best path is not always the one that leads to wealth and fame,” Bergstrom advised the class.

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today . It’s already tomorrow in Australia,” he said, quoting “Peanuts” cartoonist Charles Schulz.

The student speakers presented both individually, in pairs and even as a large group.

Mary Bissen quoted her late father, Dan Bissen: “Thanks, God, for every day in paradise.

“I have truly found paradise in the hallways of Austin High School,” Bissen said to the crowd of red caps and gowns. “I hope that someday, you will be happy. I hope that someday, you will be content. Hope for tomorrow, and go find your paradise.”

Other speakers were very brief and to the point.

“I hope that you pursue all of your endeavors with passion,” Ryan Meyer simply said. “Long live life.”