HUMBOLDT - As the 98 members of the Humboldt High School class of 2012 gathered with family, friends, teachers and administrators in the school gymnasium to celebrate their accomplishments at graduation, Class President Zoetta Hildreth reminded them that it was just the beginning of lifetime of good things that have yet to come.
"Today we end this chapter of our lives and go on to new experiences," Hildreth said as she gave the welcome address. "It's a thrill to join you in taking the next step in our lives. Everyone will leave today ready to start new accomplishments."
In her speech, Hildreth went on to thank the parents, community and educators who helped her and fellow classmates reach their graduation day.
"Thank you for your unmistakable influence in our lives," she said.
As part of Humboldt High School commencement tradition, Hildreth passed the class mantle on to Brianna Carda, president of the class of 2013.
In accepting the mantle, Carda said her class has always looked up to the class of 2012.
"We look to the class of 2012 as our role models,"said Carda.
During the ceremony, Principal Lori Westhoff gave recognition to the 20 graduating members of the National Honor Society, the 15 students with a grade point average of 3.499 to 3.0 and the 18 students graduating with a 3.5 or higher.
The top two graduates, Hildreth and Brenna Wetzel, were recognized as class valedictorian and salutatorian and 15 awards, one for each academic department, were presented to some of the top students in each subject area.
Hildreth, who was also a class speaker, said the opportunity to address her class at graduation was a special opportunity, much different than that of speaking as class president or giving the opening address.
"I've been speaking in front of the class all year," she said. "But this is special."
Hildreth compared the high school journey to a storybook.
"The past four years have been an open book, and we have been free to write our own stories," she said. "We've been free to decide who we were individually and we're going to show the world. Be confident in knowing you have written your own story and they are all ones you should be proud of."
Speaker Elsie How said it was always her dream to speak at her high school graduation, but it didn't play out quite like she would have expected. How spent most of her high school career attending Twin River Valley in Bode, which discontinued its high school at the end of her junior year in 2011.
"I always thought I would graduate with my little, close-knit class," said How. "A year ago all I wanted was one more year with them. I never expected to be here."
How said starting her senior year in a new school was like starting over, but that quickly changed as she got involved in activities and made new friends.
"You all worked your way into my life," she said. "Thank you for allowing a little 'Thunder' in your lives. Thank you for giving me the chance to be a Wildcat. We started out as two different schools and this year we became one big family."
In her closing, How quoted something she learned from watching Hannah Montana, a favorite childhood television show.
"Life is what we make it; now is the chance to make it rock," she said.
"You have been a good class and we wish you all the best from this day forward," said Westhoff as she presented the newest graduates of Humboldt High School.
Contact Emilie Nelson at (515) 573-2141 or email@example.com