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BHS Class of 2015: No hassles switching tassels

The Brainerd High School class of 2015 completed a journey 14 years in the making Friday night at Don Adamson Field. As 404 students turned to graduates as they crossed the stage and received their diplomas, they completed an academic journey the...

Brainerd graduates toss their caps in the air at the close of the ceremony Friday at Don Adamson Field. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video)
Brainerd graduates toss their caps in the air at the close of the ceremony Friday at Don Adamson Field. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video)

The Brainerd High School class of 2015 completed a journey 14 years in the making Friday night at Don Adamson Field.

As 404 students turned to graduates as they crossed the stage and received their diplomas, they completed an academic journey they started as kindergarteners.

If it wasn't for recent efforts by the senior class, commencement would have taken place in the school's gym. Issues with placing chairs on the new turf field would have voided the field's warranty, resulting in an indoor graduation ceremony.

But a fundraising effort by the senior class to cover the cost of purchasing a protective flooring tile for the field resulted in success, with students raising a little over $22,000 in less than a week to help with the $40,000 cost of purchasing the tiles.

The graduating class recognized the businesses and individuals who donated to the "Protect Our Turf" fundraiser through a listing in the commencement program. The tiles, combined with clear skies, made for a picturesque outdoor ceremony.

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Friends and family packed the bleachers adjacent to the football field for Friday's commencement, which was the 128th in BHS history.

Student speaker Theodora "Teddi" Ramberg reflected on the collective journey the class has taken in her remarks to her fellow classmates.

"In a time when there is so much emphasis on an ending, I believe that we all must reflect upon the past that got us to where we are now," Ramberg said.

Ramberg reminisced about the challenges, concerns and anxieties she and her fellow classmates dealt with as they transitioned to elementary school, middle school and finally high school.

"Not only were we switching to a different school again, but we were guppies in a tank of sharks," Ramberg said.

When it came to dealing with the challenges of high school, Ramberg used an analogy about a carrot, egg and coffee beans in boiling water. The egg changes from soft to hard and the carrot changes from hard to soft.

But the coffee beans change the water around it and influence its environment, Ramberg said.

"When faced with the adversity of high school, what did you turn into?" Ramberg asked her classmates. "Did you soften from something strong, or become hard on the inside? Or did you flourish and produce an outcome that is better than before?"

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Student speaker Taylor Collette emphasized the unique position she and her fellow graduates were in.

"We are part of a generation that endlessly spurs itself onward in preparation of the future," Collette said.

The class of 2015 took Advanced Placement and Post-Secondary Enrollment Option classes to prepare for college, Collette said. They studied complex math and worked part-time jobs while juggling education responsibilities.

"We are some of the most serious and hardworking people I have ever met," Collette said. "And yet we often are considered and sometimes consider ourselves the laziest, the most selfish and the most childish."

Parents, along with the rest of the world, are waiting for the class of 2015 to turn into productive members of society, Collette said.

"The whole world is watching us now, waiting for us to mature, to settle down, to assimilate," Collette said.

There's plenty of time for that in the future, she said. For now, the graduates should live in the moment and enjoy their accomplishments.

"I say that we take this time of looking forward - commencement - and for once, not gaze into the distance," Collette said. "Go on, take that selfie. Take a break. Not because you've earned it ... but because you can."

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Beth Bastian, BHS social studies teacher, provided the faculty address to the assembled students, teachers, parents, friends and family.

Bastian used the class of 2015's Grad Blast theme, pau hana, to share a lesson about finish lines. Pau hana, from Hawaiian pidgin, refers to the time after work, considered a time for relaxing, socializing and enjoyment.

"Are you finished?" Bastian asked the class of 2015. "To answer that question, I offer you a story that emphasizes my firm belief that there are no finish lines."

Bastian told the story of a Hawaiian prince who needed to learn to swim before he could take over for his father, the king. He encounters a series of obstacles in his swimming lessons, but keeps moving forward after he clears each hurdle.

"I'm sorry to say that your work, our work, is not truly finished," Bastian said. "My friends, you are ready to swim to distant shores."

She challenged the newly-minted graduates to move forward and move past the barriers they encounter, as their success is critical.

"We depend upon you to swim and carry with you the tender seeds of wisdom that have been planted in your lives thus far," Bastian said. "You are the picture of progress and I promise you, you will be just fine."

SPENSER BICKETT may be reached at 855-5859 or spenser.bickett@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/spenserbickett .

For more photos go to http://goo.gl/FTUYNU

Brainerd students walk down the steps toward Don Adamson Field Friday where they held their graduation ceremony. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video)
Brainerd students walk down the steps toward Don Adamson Field Friday where they held their graduation ceremony. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video)

Related Topics: BRAINERD HIGH SCHOOL
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