It wasn’t only the graduates who were bidding a fond farewell during Sunday’s graduation ceremony, held in the Amery High School Gymnasium.
It was a last for various people who participated in the event. Dr. Shawn Doerfler gave his last presentation of a graduating class as Amery high school principal. Next year Doerfler will attend the ceremony as District Administrator and watch while new High School Principal Josh Gould takes over the principal’s portion of the event. Chris Boyd directed his final performance with the high school band, as he will be leaving the district at the end of the school year and this was Laura Badman’s 19th and final time directing the high school choir. It was a graduation of sorts for Badman as well as she is entering her next phase, retirement. There was some laughter and some teary eyes, which made for an unforgettable send-off for students and staff alike.
Student Council President Andrew Otto and classmate Amari Connor gave student addresses. Otto opened the ceremony with a quote from General George S. Patton, “I do not measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.” Otto went on to say, “Our class has seen the bottom too many times, but we have always managed to bounce back. Through trials and tribulations our class has continued to succeed and I think a lot of our success has been a result of the nurturing adults in our lives. So on behalf of the class of 2019, I would like to thank parents, teachers, coaches, custodians, the I.T. guys, bus drivers, lunch ladies, other support staff, school administration, school board and the community in itself for all the lessons, support and behind the scene work they have done to help us reach where we are right now. It is a true gift we are all grateful for.”
Conner said, “Life is a series of mountains and valleys. Each day brings new experiences. Some days are full of struggles and some plentiful in joy. Other days are a mixture of both. We all know life can be remarkably difficult at times. Valleys are impartial, inevitable and purposeful in our lives. Figuratively speaking valleys represent our lows, discouragement and challenging times, but they also bring us to a place of new insight, understanding and growth. If it weren’t for the low points, no high points would seem high. Sometimes when things do not go according to plan we lose faith, not only in ourselves, but also in any possibility of that light at the end of the tunnel. While life can be hard at times, faith is the knowledge and the confidence that things will get better. The importance of faith cannot be underestimated. I am sure all of you, myself included feel a little bit of uncertainty about what lies ahead. Class of 2019 as we all go our separate ways and pursue different things I hope you let your faith be bigger than your fear.”
Giving his thirteenth and final principal’s presentation, Dr. Shawn Doerfler told the graduates, “I am speaking to you, but I am also speaking to those of you who have sat right where you are over the course of the past 13 years. I am incredibly thankful for what Amery students have left for me in memories. It is so very much more than I could ever have dreamed of giving back. You are bound by nothing, for the talented skill you have shown here makes it a forgone conclusion that anything is possible for you. You know who you are. Your accomplishments in and out of the classroom are only surpassed by the high quality character people you have come to be. You have touched my heart and you have touched the hearts of those around you. Nothing is impossible.”
Doerfler explained that ordinarily a crowd is asked to hold their applause until the names of all pupils are read. He said that was not the rule in Amery’s gymnasium that day. He encouraged the loved ones of each and every graduate to cheer and show their pride for the students. He said it would be totally fine to be loud and proud even if it meant possibly embarrassing their graduate. The clapping, roars and whistles made it quite obvious as names were read and students walked across the stage, those gathered were more than willing to take Doerfler up on his offer.