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by Joni Astrup
Senior athletes at Rogers High School got one more opportunity to celebrate a fine year, when they were invited to take a final victory lap during graduation.
With their trophies held high, the robed athletes walked around the high school field house as the crowd stood and cheered.
Recognized by Superintendent Mark Bezek were the state champion girls’ soccer team, the football team, the dance team and the girls’ basketball team as well as Sabrina Hoover and McCabe Buege. Hoover won the state individual all-around competition in gymnastics for the third year while Buege is the No. 1 ranked golfer in the state.
After the victory lap, Bezek addressed the Class of 2011. He had three pieces of advice:
•Don’t waste your time.
•Have pride in everything you do.
•Stay close to parents, family and faith.
The seniors were awarded diplomas in what was just the seventh graduation ceremony at the school. Commencement was held Thursday, June 2.
The ceremony included a somber moment, when Principal Roman Pierskalla asked the crowd to observe a moment of silence “in recognition of the students from the Class of 2011 who we wish were here with us today.”
Valedictorian Christopher Thompson reflected on the memories of high school and left his classmates with this wish: “May your life be like math: Happiness added, sorrows subtracted, friends multiplied and love undivided.”
Faculty speaker Joe Belka, a health teacher and coach, urged the graduates to make the most of their “dash.”
The “dash” is what will be on everyone’s tombstone between the date they were born and the date they died.
“That dash is going to represent everything that you did in your life: good and bad,” Belka said. “It’s how you’re remembered. What do you want your dash to represent?”
He challenged each graduate to spend his or her “dash” wisely.
The commencement program also included music by the Rogers High School Band and the Rogers High School Choir.
Bezek and School Board Chair Sue Farber accepted the class before the diplomas were conferred.
As the ceremony came to a close, the newly minted graduates tossed their mortarboards into the air and the crowd celebrated.