Seniors bid farewell to AHS

Published 7:01 am Saturday, June 8, 2019

Downstairs, inside the Austin High School cafeteria, more than 300 seniors from the class of 2019 were getting ready to make their last walk as students Friday night.

Many of these seniors were destined to make their way into the world, whether it meant going to college or going straight into the workforce. Each path was forged differently. Some friends said goodbye and others were excited to continue walking through life together.

For many of these seniors, they will be taking advantage of The Hormel Foundation Austin Assurance Scholarship Program. Kyle Anderson, a senior, said he planned to attend Riverland Community College for his general education credits and eventually go on to earn his bachelor’s degree in order to become a teacher.

Left to right: Achwor Omot, Wyatt Wallis and Karacharo Nyikew, pose for a photo with friends before the graduation ceremony from Austin High School on Friday night.
Hannah Yang/

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“It’s definitely a weird feeling of accomplishment,” Anderson said. “I’m ready for what’s next.”

Others were still preparing for the moment when they would be walking onstage and receiving their diplomas. For Achwor Omot and Karacharo Nyikew, the two young women donned their caps and gowns earlier that morning and found themselves hit with the realization that their high school career was over.

“It really hit me this morning while I was getting dressed,” Nyikew said with a bitter smile. “I’m ready to go with the flow.”

The two friends planned to attend Riverland Community College for the Austin Assurance Scholarship Program and intended to attend the 2+2 Program in order to become a teacher. They reflected on their journeys, and advised future students to make each moment count and to make friends along the way.

Austin High School seniors make their way to their graduation ceremony on Friday night.
Hannah Yang/

Nyachan Gash was also prepared to attend college after graduation, with her lifelong dream of heading to New York City and starting her life there within reach.

“It’s going to be interesting seeing what we learned here and applying them out there in the real world,” Gash said. “I want to live my life.”

As the night progressed, students began their final walk to the Knowlton Auditorium. Family members and friends cheered as they made their way into the auditorium and celebrated their rite of passage.

Superintendent David Krenz addressed the crowds with his final speech to the 143rd graduating class from Austin High School. He asked the seniors to remember their experiences, but to also learn from those experiences and embrace their differences that shaped them into the people they became.

“Learn, learn, learn from those differences,” Krenz said. “Differences make us who we are. We all took different paths to get to this point. We are all unique. Embrace the differences that make us who we are.”