Butler County Times Gazette
  • Graduates celebrate completion of high school

  • A time of celebration
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  • Seniors throughout the county celebrated the completion of their high school years, as well as heard words of encouragement and fond memories, during their commencement ceremonies Sunday.
    El Dorado High School
    Seniors at El Dorado High School celebrated accomplishments and looked to the future during their graduation ceremony.
    After entering the gym to “Pomp and Circumstance” performed by the high school orchestra and a performance by the EHS drumline, Senior Class President Heather Riddle welcomed everyone to the ceremony.
    “We are coming together to celebrate one of our many successes of life,” Riddle said.
    “Eleven years ago we were all walking into our elementary schools and we all had our dreams. Now we are one step closer to our dream.”
    She recognized those who had supported them along the way.
    Next, the EHS Encore performed before the senior speakers took the stage.
    Travis House was the first to speak, with a speech titled “A Guided Journey.”
    “We’ve made it,” House said. “No matter how fast or slow time went in high school there were those who helped us.
    “Today, as we set out on our pathway to our future, let’s thank those who have guided us on our journey.”
    The first people he thanked were the parents.
    “To all of the family members who traveled a great distance thank you,” he continued.
    He went on to thank the administration, teachers, secretaries and support staff, which he said is second to none.
    “Thank you for all the little things you did during our time here,” House said.
    He also thanked the coaches who helped shape them into better individuals.
    “We cannot express our gratitude to you for your efforts to help us along this journey,” he said.
    Last, he thanked his classmates.
    “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning,” House said, quoting Winston Churchill.
    “As we sit here we have mixed emotions,” he continued.
    He said some class members don’t know what lies ahead, while others have every moment planned out.
    “I challenge us to live every day to the fullest,” House said.
    “Thank you class of 2014 for all the memories I will cherish forever.”
    The second speaker was Allison Bieberle, who’s speech was titled “No Wrong Answer.”
    “I am thankful to see so many supportive family and friends,” she said, thanking them.
    Page 2 of 4 - “Four years ago we took our first steps through this monstrous building. Despite the terror each of us felt, we persevered.”
    She said they began to get involved and once they found their niche, high school became an adventure.
    “Here we are now, graduating seniors,” Bieberle continued.
    She said they have faced all the obstacles thrown at them including tests, papers and more.
    “We have come away victorious,” she said. “Most important we worked hard to be here. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. I encourage each of you to find your passion every day.”
    She said they have to put forth effort to achieve their vision of success and encouraged them not to beat themselves up about mistakes.
    “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” she said. “Just pick yourself up, brush yourself off and continue with more vigor than before.
    “No matter how far you make it in life, never forget your roots,” she continued. “There are no wrong answers in life, so find your passion and face your dreams.”
    The final speaker was Aaron Turner, who’s speech was “This is Going to be Alright.”
    He began by thanking administrators, teachers and classmates for giving him the opportunity to speak and for the support they had provided. He also thanked the families there.
    He went on to say life is often compared to movies, but he said movies usually have a happy ending and life does not always end that way.
    “We are about to set out on a journey that will dictate the course we will take,” he said. “All of us will fail at something.”
    He said the old saying “I’m only human,” is the most accurate description of life.
    “My message to you is to embrace failures and learn from it,” he said.
    “Graduation marks the end of an era. School has shaped us into the people we are today. Whatever you decide to do after high school, make sure it is what you want to do. Most importantly, live your life with integrity.
    “Go out in life and make mistakes, it’s a part of life,” he continued. “When you stumble and fall, get up and try, try again. It is our life and our choices that define who we are.”
    He concluded by saying they all have the potential to do great things.
    Next, EHS Principal Kevin House presented the class of 2014 and asked they be presented with their high school diplomas.
    Page 3 of 4 - Circle High School
    Parents, families and fellow Circle High School students gathered to celebrate the commencement of the class of 2014 on Sunday afternoon in the Butler Community College gymnasium.
    Senior Class President Ridge Walker opened the ceremony and welcomed the crowd.
    “Every person here today has had a hand in influencing the accomplishments of the graduates present today,” he began. “All should stand proud of their accomplishments. I extend a grateful welcome to each of you. As you continue on to the rest of your lives, I offer you this: ‘May the odds be ever in your favor.’”
    The next to speak were Valedictorians Jessa Ragan, Erin Schiesser and Connor Seybert.
    “We’ve all experienced hardships on our journeys in life,” said Ragan. “But we all have people who have helped us to form a bridge.”
    “We’ve had parents to guide us, peers to encourage us, and teachers to help us on our way,” said Scheisser.
    Circle High School Principal Todd Dreifort offered words of advice and encouragement to the graduates.
    “I want you to do three things before you move on to the next phase in your lives–whether it is to find a job, begin college, or join the military– I want you to say thank you,” he began. “The first step to moving forward is acknowledging the help you received along the way. Say thank you to those who are here in this gymnasium. They were always there to help you and support you. They grounded you, told you to clean your room and made sure you got your homework done. They did that because they love you. I also want you to say thank you to your teachers. They don’t ask for much and whether you want to believe it or not, they gave you a life time of knowledge.”
    Dreifort went on to remind the students their worlds will soon change if they hadn’t already.
    “Up until this moment, it’s all been about you,” he explained. “Your education, your thoughts and feelings. You broadcast it on Twitter and Facebook. I encourage you to take a moment and do something kind for someone else. To quote a Greek fable: ‘No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted’.”
    His final piece of advice for the graduates was to strive for more.
    “I want you to raise the bar for yourselves, “ he said. “Try something new. Go out and take a class, clean your room or take your principal out to lunch. Try something different. The time between high school and college is the perfect time. Whatever you do, do it with confidence. Everyone has been prepping you to go off to college and believe me, you’re ready. Whatever you decide to do now, do it with pride.”
    Page 4 of 4 - Dreifort ended his speech with wise words from a well-known author.
    “To wrap all this up, I’ll quote the great Doctor Suess: ‘Don’t cry because its over–smiel because it happened’.”
    The farewell of the commencement was given by Student Council President Anthony Treweeke.
    “Up to this point in our lives hasn’t been all fun,” he began. “The fun won’t always last, but the memories we all made together will last forever. On behalf of the student body, I offer you congratulations.”
    Rose Hill High School
    The 2014 Rose Hill High School commencement program was held Sunday afternoon in the high school gymnasium.
    Mark Blauser, instructor of language arts, forensics and debate, gave the graduation address and other highlights included scholarship presentations.
    For receiving the fifth highest grade percentages, Erica Fuller was the recipient of the G.H. Waitt, Jr. Memorial Scholarship; fourth highest, Erin Treiber received the G.H. Waitt Sr. Memorial Scholarship; third highest, Chandler Boese, the Rose Hill Historical Society Scholarship; second highest, Kylie Pfaff, the L.M. Waitt Sr. Scholarship; and the highest, Jaelyn Glennemeier, the Rose Hill Bank Scholarship.
    Kylie Pfaff was the class salutatorian and Jaelyn Glennemeier was the valedictorian.
    Also graduating Sunday was Bluestem, Augusta, Andover, Andover Central and Douglass high schools. See photos from those graduations on pages A6-7 and B6-7.
    Written by Julie Clements, Kari Adams and Belinda Larsen
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