by Joni Astrup
Have fun. Be selfless. Be thankful.
Samuel Rogers offered those words of advice to his classmates as he gave the honor-student address during Spectrum High School’s commencement, held May 23 at the charter school in Elk River.
Rogers told the graduates that as they move into adulthood, have fun by remembering to stop once in awhile, take a break from their daily routines and enjoy their lives and what is happening around them.
Regarding being selfless, he said Spectrum has trained them for that throughout high school.
“We know how to interact with the community. We know how to help people who need it,” he said.
He also urged his classmates to be thankful for health, blessings, the beauty of nature, parents, family and friends.
It all comes back to love, he said.
“Love yourself, and you will make time to enjoy your life. Love the people around you, and you will always lend a helping hand. Love God, and he will open your eyes to the beauty of all he has given you,” Rogers said.
Teacher Sean Ryther, who gave the commencement address, told students about being a light in a dark place.
“We live in a dark world,” he said. Nasty, horrible things happen. But Ryther told the seniors not to let that discourage them.
He said he was in darkness himself until he accepted Jesus Christ into his life.
“If you don’t have that light in your life, I encourage you, I so strongly encourage you, to get it,” he said.
“For those of you that do have that light, keep letting that light shine wherever you are at. Together, let’s be a light in the dark place,” he said.
Awards were also handed out during the commencement ceremony.
Parent volunteer Michele Newberger received the Volunteer Recognition Award. She has volunteered at the school for seven years.
Spirit Awards went to the following members of the Class of 2014: Joseph Chaffin, Seth Foust, Joel Galvin, Emily Honl, Mary McCarty, Susan Newberger, Rebecca Peterson, Tristen Rosby and Alyssa Spofford.
Four outstanding senior scholars were recognized:
•Seth Foust completed the Minnesota transfer curriculum, which required the completion at least 40 college credits in 10 goal areas. He will attend Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, where he will study pre-med.
•Emily Honl is the first Spectrum student to earn both a high school diploma and an Associate of Arts degree from Anoka-Ramsey Community College, all while remaining on Spectrum’s campus. She will attend Baylor University in Texas and plans to become a doctor.
•Mary McCarty is a National Merit Scholar. She has been awarded a $116,200 scholarship to attend the University of Oklahoma with plans to major in engineering.
•Alyssa Spofford is the Class of 2014 valedictorian. Her GPA is 4.08. She will attend Bethel University to study biochemistry. Following that, she plans to attend the University of Minnesota medical school.