by K.J. Lincoln
The Bethel Regional High School staff and students, parents, and community members, celebrated the graduation of 48 seniors at their commencement ceremony last Friday.
Gown and cap clad seniors with gold and white sashes marched into the WarriorDome to the music of Pomp and Circumstance courtesy of the BRHS Band and Director Mr. Carlson.
Some students wore their native Eskimo booties, piluguut, to express and present their Yup’ik heritage.
Parents and family members were seated in the rows on the main gym floor. Others sat in the bleachers where they have always sat for ball games and other sporting events, but now they were seated to bid a final farewell to the senior class.
Giving the opening welcoming address was BRHS Site Administrator Dr. Doug Boyer. To begin, he gave special recognition to graduates Earl Polk and Shanna Mendenhall who were on their way to begin their careers in the military. Polk is going on to become a nuclear specialist and Mendenhall is going to be a medic.
Dr. Boyer also recognized Mr. Carlton Kuhns for his 40 years of service. He is retiring. Many of the graduating class will remember Mr. Kuhns as their principal at the Mikelnguut Elitnaurviat School.
And speaking of the graduates, he commended the Class of 2019 for their resiliency in persevering through the adversity of having had many changes in the staff administration.
“This class went through lots of staff changes but were able to stay on track to graduate,” said Dr. Boyer.
The student-selected speaker was Klajvis Pellumbi. The staff-selected speaker was Emely Martinez.
“Hard work is a value taught to me by my parents,” said Pellumbi. “You must persist.”
“Bethel is beautiful to us,” said Martinez who came to Bethel during her earlier high school years. “Thank you for accepting me as one of your own.”
The commencement speaker chosen by the class was Laura Tolliver. She spoke of what it means to be a Warrior.
“Bethel is a community full of people with warrior hearts,” she said. “We have warriors who have survived trauma. Never doubt your own strength. Your journey has just begun. Take strength from this community that is with you here tonight.”
Dr. Boyer along with the Advisory School Board presented the graduates with their diplomas and they turned their tassels as their family members snapped pictures of the momentous event.
The caps were tossed into the air in a final show of completion.
The ceremony concluded with the customary slideshow of the graduates as little ones, cute and adorable along with a current photo as young adults. Folks dried their tears from the nostalgia, pride, and joy, and maybe a little sadness at the thought of missing their beloved Warriors who would now go off into the world to seek their futures.
BRHS Class of 2019
Marc Adlon *∞◊
Angeline Alexie **>
Brycen Alexie >
Hyung An ***∞◊∆
Max Black >
Samara Byrnes *∞◊
Fiola Dema **∞
Brianna Evan *∞
Roselyn Evan *∞◊
Rebecca Flynn >
Donald Greydanus ∞
Deja Jackson **>∞◊
Rylee Johnson *∞◊
Andrea Lee *∞
Elijah Lindley >∞
Kelsie Madson **∞
Emely Martinez *
Klajvis Pellumbi ***∞◊
Gareth Rice ***∞◊
Skylar Sargent ∞
Madisen Smith **∞
Ryan Smith ***∞
JoBeth Stuart *
Freeman Woods >
* Honors 3.50 GPA – blue cord
** High Honors 3.75 GPA – gold cord
*** Top Honors 4.0 GPA – blue and gold cord
> Ayaprun Elitnaurvik Graduate – silver cord
∞ National Honor Society – white stole
◊ Projected Alaska Performance Scholarship
∆ Seal of Biliteracy
Even though the future seems far away, it is actually beginning right now. -Mattie Stepanek