From teens to adults
Jessica Scheerer began her speech with a loud and resounding: "Hi! We're here!"
A perfect way to kick off the graduation ceremony at Red Wing High School in the Larry Sonju Gymnasium on June 1.
There were 201 students graduating from Red Wing this year, with 33 students achieving a grade-point average of 3.92 or above and 52 students graduating with honor chords.
Scheerer encouraged her fellow classmates to share their respective stories and backgrounds, to help the nation come together.
"Stories provide people with a communication bridge between opinions, cultures and languages," Scheerer said. "In such a polarized nation, and conflicted world spurred on by antithetical politics, we need stories more than ever."
Ian Schreiber, the second student speaker, took a different approach at the beginning of speech asking, why did we go to high school?
"In my estimation, the time spent here is worth more than numbers and letters," Schreiber said. "Our education and our diplomas are two entirely separate entities. We learned how to think. We learned how to learn. We learned how to connect and how to communicate."
Schreiber continued by encouraging his classmates have authenticity in their life, keeping true to themselves and growing as individuals.
High school educators Tim Bowes and Paul Hartmann had the opportunity to address the graduates, with each encouraging them to go forward and to be great.
Bowes, a language arts teacher, said he's had 142 of those students in his room, remarking at their impressive academic accomplishments.
Bowes told the students and parents to give themselves a literal pat on the back for their hard work, not only during high school, but throughout their entire academic career.
In closing, Bowes told the graduating students to "be great people."
Hartmann, a social studies teacher at Tower View Alternative High School, told students that it's OK to be worried or confused about the future. That to have anxiety about becoming an adult is natural.
Hartmann continued by saying that when he graduated from Red Wing High School 21 years ago, all he cared about was money, sports and girls.
Now looking back, Hartmann said money has never brought his family happiness. Sports or extracurricular activities bring limited joy when you're only in it to win it. And when it comes to his girl, he called himself "a pretty lucky guy."
"You may be sitting here tonight not knowing what your passions and interests are. But I will reassure you, that's OK, too."
As a part of their graduation, the 201 graduates moved their tassels from right to left, signifying their time as high school students was over. And the rest of life has just beginning.