Thursday, May 26, 2016
By Carol Walker
As “Pomp and Circumstance” was played by the Hill City High School Brass Choir on Sunday morning at the Mount Rushmore amphitheater, 29 Hill City seniors filed in for their commencement program. It was a picture perfect day as Supt. Mike Hanson welcomed the graduates and the crowd gathered to witness the event.
The Regents Scholars were introduced and the high school choir sang Omnia Sol (Let Your Heart be Staid); the salutatory address by Jessica Houser followed. She encouraged the class of 2016, saying they were loud, weird, loved to learn, and strove for good grades.
Houser quoted Mike Josephson who said, “Take pride in how far you’ve come. Have faith in how far you can go, but don’t forget to enjoy the journey.”
Valedictorian Taylor Vaughn said the graduating class includes experts in bull riding, Nascar, Star Trek, art, music, dying hair and many cat ladies, and each one of them should look for success in whatever they do. She offered them a quote, “Be in fearless pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”
Guest speaker Dr. Joy Mueller, a Hill City graduate, shared her experiences since she walked across the Mount Rushmore stage in 2003. After completing a degree in metallurgy from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, she went on to work for Nucor Steel in Norfolk, Neb., where she also became an EMT, an experience that led her to return to medical school at the University of South Dakota. She challenged the seniors to work hard, ask for help and help others.
High School Principal Todd Satter said the class of 2016 had an overall GPA of 3.32, received $80,000 in scholarships and were experts at Post-it mosaics, referring to their senior prank of covering the walls of the high school with the sticky notes.
Diplomas were received from Hanson and Owen Wiederhold, school board president, after which caps were tossed high in the air and family and friends flooded the stage to congratulate the graduates.