by Greg Lincoln
The graduation class of the Bethel Regional High School honored 34 graduates at a much-anticipated commencement ceremony at the WarriorDome, home of the Warriors on Saturday, May 21st, 2022.
Wearing their blue caps and gowns and tassles, the senior class entered the gym for the last time as Seniors, marched to the familiar strains of Pomp and Circumstance.
Some of the soon-to-be graduates wore their beautiful native Eskimo booties – piluguut/kameksiit, to express and represent their Yup’ik heritage.
Parents and family members of the graduates from Bethel, the villages, and elsewhere had special seats assigned to them in rows on the main gym floor. BRHS faculty, ASB members, and special speakers were seated in honor in the front rows. Everyone was there to share in the graduates’ big day and to bid a final farewell to the senior class.
BRHS live streamed the graduation ceremony online.
Ms. Alicia Miner, the BRHS principal gave the welcome message. She spoke of each student with fond memories during her speech.
“What a great day it is to celebrate the class of 2022,” she said as she introduced the class to the assembled guests. “When I look back at this year I am going to remember each and every one of you.” She commended the families for their support and resilience.
The student-selected speaker was Joseph Smith. The staff-selected speaker was Jordan Wheeler.
“We are beginning a new chapter in our lives, and I want everyone to remember we can do anything we set our minds to, no matter what,” Smith said. “But that dream and hope for success – comes with hard work…you have to work toward those dreams every day. If you truly work hard you can become the best.”
Wheeler posed a question in her graduation address: there are two days in the year where nothing can be done. What would those two days be?
“I learned those two special days where nothing can be done are tomorrow and yesterday. Nothing can be done yesterday or tomorrow because there is really nothing you can do to change the past and nothing you do today will guarantee the future for tomorrow,” she told her fellow graduates and those in the audience. “We know that we can do great things in the future just like we have done great things in the past. We just need to make a plan and work with what we have today. If we can do that, we will be able to meet any challenge we face.”
The commencement speaker was Tad Lindley, former longstanding BRHS teacher. He told the graduates that he was going to talk about his past and everybody on the stage’s future. In conclusion to his speech he gave a special prayer for the students as they were getting ready to go forward.
Ms. Miner along with the Advisory School Board presented the graduates with their diplomas. Each grad turned to face the audience as they posed for photos and to turn their tassles.
The ceremony concluded with a slideshow of memories of the graduates from their school years and as little ones along with a current photo as young adults. The grads exited the WarriorDome during the recessional, proud and happy for their graduation. Everyone greeted them and showered them with gifts on the deck. A reception took place in the new multi-purpose room/cafeteria.
BRHS Class of 2022
Posun Cyrus Anaruk-Hank
Cadence Cedars ∆
Linea Chase ∆
Kayla Dela Cruz
Angel Jacob ∆
Caleb Kim **√
Jordan Leinberger ∆
Ava Lieb **√
Tomasina Nicolai ∆
Trenton Roland ∆
Alqaq Katherine Small ∆
Charles Smith **√
Jaden Smith ∆
Landon Smith *√
Stacy Springer ∆
Haley Sundown ***∑
Timothy Thompson ∆
Jordan Wheeler ***√∑
*Honors 3.50 GPA – blue cord
**High Honors 3.74 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
Class Motto: We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. – Inspired by Andre Gide