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home : education : schools July 24, 2017

6/13/2017 11:44:00 AM
Class of 2017 is off to the future
Sisters High School graduates stepped into their future Thursday night. photo by Jerry Baldock
+ click to enlarge
Sisters High School graduates stepped into their future Thursday night. photo by Jerry Baldock

By Charlie Kanzig

The Sisters High School class of 2017 wrapped up their Outlaw experience on Thursday, June 8 at the 69th commencement ceremony in the school's history - the 25th since the high school returned to the community in the fall of 1992.

A total of 87 students participated in the ceremony, which broke from tradition this year with the addition of a speech by a faculty member. After introductions by Principal Joe Hosang and a beautiful rendition of the national anthem by the SHS Jazz Choir, English teacher Matt Bradley, who started his career at Sisters High when the class of 2017 entered as freshmen, wove together a 40-minute message that included words of wisdom along with a personal anecdote about each and every one of the graduates.

In his initial address, Bradley urged the class to live deliberately in a quote from Henry David Thoreau:

'"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,"' he quoted. "That's one of my favorite lines in all of American literature, and that's also my main message to you, the graduating class of 2017: I want you to live deliberately. Of course, this raises an important question: What does it mean to live deliberately? From my perspective, living deliberately means living morally, living purposefully, and living lovingly. So I'd like to take a few minutes today to discuss how you can live morally, purposefully, and lovingly, as I truly believe that these are three keys to living a good life."

Bradley entertained and blessed the graduates with a snippet on each of the members of the class, combining both humorous and heartfelt stories in order to express his affection for them.

Three valedictorian speakers had a tough act to follow when they were called to the podium following Bradley. Jacob Larson got things started with his own Aesop's fable-like tale that included a bunny, a squirrel, a mouse, a fox, and a bear. Needless to say the bunny faced some troubles - but not from those he was led to believe were dangerous. After losing all of his money in a poker game to the squirrels and a kidney at the hands of the mouse, he learned that the bear and fox were actually helpful creatures and that if he had just followed his gut, he would have been much better off.

"Don't let others influence decisions you should make for yourself," Larson said. "Secondly, spend time to understand others before you make your judgments."

Zidane Galant-LaPorte focused on her appreciation for Sisters after moving here in eighth grade.

"After my initial week, I began to settle in here and started to recognize just how amazing it was here. There was an indescribable energy that raced through the halls and I still can't explain just exactly what it was, but over the years I began to understand it. It's what makes Sisters Sisters," she said.

A quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson summed up Lauren Wattenburg's speech in which she urged her classmates to not let fear and failure stop them and to grow into who they are meant to be by discovering their inner strengths. Quoting Emerson she said, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within us out into the world, miracles happen."

Returning to tradition, members of the class performed a musical piece and mothers were presented flowers by their loving children. The class then enjoyed the traditional baby-picture slideshow before getting down to the brass tacks of receiving their diplomas and being officially presented by Principal Hosang as the graduating Class of 2017.

With mortarboards flying like Frisbees, the Sisters High School class of 2017 gave a raucous cheer before streaming out into the cold air of the courtyard to begin their lives as Outlaw alumni.

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