Friday, May 24, 2013
By Carol Walker
The weather forecast was as “right as rain” on Sunday when showers descended on Hill City High School graduating seniors, their families and friends during the 92nd commencement exercises at Mount Rushmore. However, soggy programs, speech notes and mortar boards didn’t dampen the seniors’ determination to enjoy their special day.
With a brass ensemble assembled by high school band and choir director Amy Woodward playing “Pomp and Circumstance,” 36 students filed down the steps of the amphitheatre to join administrators and school board members with umbrellas already in use on the platform. The audience remained standing for Casey Sullivan’s electric guitar rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.”
A welcome by Supt. Mike Hanson was followed by the high school choir’s selection, “Closer to the Flame.” High School principal Todd Satter introduced the following honor students: Karly Dehn, Kala McDonald, Megan Randolph and Seth Stenson, all having a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5-3.99 and Lexy Hanson with a GPA of 4.0.
High school counselor Nancy Kennedy gave recognition to Regents Scholars Corey Allen, Cristian Castro, Dehn, Hanson, Breanna Lende-Hanson, McDonald, Ben McKee, Codee Sagdalen, Casey Sullivan and Pedro Villalobos.
As the choir shared another number, “The Blessing,” the sky really opened up, but the singers didn’t falter. Some used music folders to shield them from the rain as they sang.
The top two graduating seniors academically challenged their classmates to look to the adventure of what lies ahead. In her salutatory speech Kala McDonald quoted her classmate Sullivan who often said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” Valedictorian Lexy Hanson said, “This is the first day of the rest of our lives,” and we should all remember that even failures can become future successes.
Satter said the seniors had logged about 15,000 hours of classroom time since they began kindergarten 13 years ago. He went on to say he was proud to be the principal of the class of 2013, a group of kids with a lot of talent.
Diplomas were awarded, tassels were shifted and pictures were taken by adoring family members. After the final benediction by Dominick Schooler, mortar boards were flung upward into the misty sky, indicating another Hill City senior class completed its high school career.