Springtime is always a time of new beginnings; inevitably though those beginnings come with accompanying endings. For local high school seniors this past week was the end of one chapter of their lives and the beginning of a new chapter. Both St. Patrick Catholic School and Portland High School held graduation ceremonies this past week marking this ending and a new beginning.
Portland High School
Portland High School’s class of 2018 held commencement on the evening of Thursday the 24th. The 126 members of the senior class processed into the Portland High School gymnasium, accompanied by “Pomp and Circumstance” played by the PHS Band under the direction of Mr. Mike Sulecki. Superintendent William Heath opened the ceremony by challenging the students to “... remember that you are always a Raider.” Class President Rachel Kapcia shared some humorous memories of the graduating class’ time together including a memorable lunch detention from her time in middle school.
Valedictorian Sydney Schneider’s address was based on her favorite book, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, in which a young girl enters a magical land by jumping into a rabbit hole. In her address she challenged her classmates to, “seize every opportunity,” and to, “jump down every rabbit hole you get the chance to…” Salutatorian Kailen Brennan did the math and found that her classmates had spent 16,380 hours together over the past 13 years of schooling. She encouraged the graduates saying, “wherever you go don’t forget where you came from.”
Following the speeches, the PHS band played a rendition of “Finesse” by Bruno Mars. Prior to the presentation of diplomas, Mr. Pat Trierweiler, a 1950 graduate of PHS, and grandfather of one of the members of the senior class was invited to the podium to share a few words of advice. Mr. Trierweiler advised the soon to be graduates to, “enjoy the simple pleasures of everyday life,” rather than always living for the future. The school board conferred the diplomas assisted by class advisor Mrs. Theresa Getchell. Following the conferral of diplomas, the graduates tossed their caps into the air in celebration as the band played the school fight song.
St. Patrick Catholic School
St. Patrick’s kicked off graduation festivities on the afternoon of Sunday the 21st with mass in the church celebrated by Father Mike Alber. St. Patrick alum, Deacon Mike Steffes delivered the homily, challenging the graduates to remain humble in light of their present and future accomplishments. Following the mass, the assembled family and friends hurried nextdoor to the gymnasium to snag the best seats for the graduation ceremony.
The 26 members of the senior class were led into the gymnasium by the administration, faculty and school board members to the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance.” Before opening the commencement ceremony with prayer, Father Mike Alber told the senior class that although he has not the opportunity to get to know them well that they have made a good impression and that he will remember them in prayer daily. Rev. Alber took over as pastor of St. Patrick Catholic Church in this past January with the retirement of long time pastor, Father Larry King.
Salutatorian Tyler Schrauben shared that he hopes his classmates find happiness in life. He encouraged the graduates to remember that, “God, family and friends...will always be there for us...and it is these things that will bring you true happiness and joy.” Valedictorian Kylee Schrauben shared some humorous memories from the class’ time in elementary school. She concluded that, “the Class of 2018 is an example of how twenty-some little weirdos can come together and learn to care more about the group as a whole rather than their own personal gain.” Principal Randy Hodge conferred the diplomas assisted by school board vice-chair Annalise Laumeyer, Father Mike Alber, and senior class advisors Terry Austen and Jordan Smith. With the ceremonial flip of the tassel from right to left, the seniors became graduates.
PHOTOS: SPS photos courtesy of St. Patrick Catholic School. PHS photos by Jordan D. Smith.
DISCLOSURE: When not writing for The Portland Beacon, Jordan Smith teaches high school science at St. Patrick Catholic School where he is also the senior class advisor.