(Editor’s note: Scroll to the bottom to see a slide show from graduation.)
by Joni Astrup
Members of Spectrum High School’s class of 2012 crossed a new stage in a new school to get their diplomas Thursday night, June 7.
It was the fourth graduation for the public charter school, but this was the first class to graduate from Spectrum’s new school. The school was finished last fall and is located at 17796 Industrial Circle in Elk River.
The commencement was filled with speeches, honors, pomp and live music by the chamber choir.
It began with graduates and other dignitaries entering the gymnasium to the melody of “Pomp and Circumstance.” Then a hush fell over the room as the Elk River Police Department’s Honor Guard marched in and presented the flags.
Senior Class President Kacie Wystepek gave the welcome and Samuel Scherer presented the honor student address.
Scherer described some traits that will be good to carry into adulthood, including integrity, guilt of the type that pushes people to help others, curiosity and common sense. He advised graduates to leave behind traits like judgment, arrogance and bad habits.
Brenda Schulze was given the Volunteer Recognition Award. She helps in a variety of ways, including serving on Spectrum’s Board of Directors.
The audience also saw a senior video by yearbook staff seniors and a words of wisdom video by Melissa Jensen and Rebekah Maki.
The commencement speaker was Eric Bubna, a teacher and secretary of the Board of Directors.
He talked about the pursuit of happiness.
Bubna challenged graduates to not only find what makes them tick and spend their time doing that, but to take it a step further.
He cited one expert who says that people who report the highest levels of fulfillment are the ones who are not only engaged in their greatest passions and strengths, but use those things to serve those around them.
“They don’t just play the piano. They give piano lessons for free,” Bubna said. “They don’t just spend time building things. They spend time building a swing set for the single parent who lives down the street.”
That, in turn, leads to a meaningful life.
Secondly, he told graduates to expect the pursuit of all the good things in life — career, family, meaning, happiness — to be hard.
Everyone suffers either the pain of discipline or the pain of regret and disappointment. He urged the class of 2012 to choose now to live the disciplined life.
“Find your passions and strengths, plug them into the world around you and take the hard road when it presents itself,” he advised. “The precious things in this life that you desire will come at a price, but it is a price that is worth paying.”
Following his address, Spirit Awards were presented to Matthew Beaudoin, Alexandra Bergren, Megan Bondy, Sarah Dillon, Rebekah Maki, Alexander McDonough, Emily Owens and Danielle Swanson.
Three students entering the armed services were recognized — Connor Bresnahan, Leah Jackson and Amanda Jenson — and valedictorian Brian Prigmore was introduced.
Then, one by one, the graduates crossed the stage to receive their diplomas.
When the last one was handed out, teacher Letitia Potvin gave the closing remarks. She was inspired by the children’s book “Goodnight Moon,” a story about the closing of a day.
“Graduates, tonight is the time where you will need to say goodnight to your friends, your teachers who love you, this place and, most importantly, goodnight to this chapter in your life,” Potvin said.
She titled her remarks, “Goodnight Class of 2012.”
Potvin concluded: “Goodnight to friends, familiar things and places. Goodnight to well-known and warm faces. And goodnight to this day and the memories it gave. But, most importantly, goodnight to this moment for in our hearts it will be saved.