Whitefish High School’s commencement ceremony Saturday was about looking ahead to the future, while honoring the work that propelled the graduates to earning their diplomas.
During his farewell address to the class, graduate Zach Ade asked his fellow members of the class of 2018 to consider the word passion.
“A truly passionate person can achieve so much when they put their mind to it,” he said.
He said it’s OK to have no idea what the future will hold because “we’re still young and we still have time to figure it out.”
But he challenged his fellow graduates to “not settle on what the world tells you, but settle only on what you love.”
“Discover your passions,” he said. “Class of 2018, keep those passions close to you and feed them every opportunity you get.”
Family and friends packed the high school gym to cheer and celebrate with the 112 seniors to graduate during the school’s 114th commencement ceremony.
Masters of Ceremony Grace Scrafford and Ella Van Vlack took a few moments to remind graduates of how much they had grown from their first days at Muldown Elementary though until graduation.
“We were the first class to spend all four years in the new high school,” Van Vlack said. “We’re about blending the old and new tradition.”
Graduate Becca Catina listed the numerous accomplishments of the class from the court and athletic field, to high marks by the school’s culinary students and career clubs, and state honors by the band, choir and orchestra students.
“Congratulations to all of you on such success,” she said. “I’m honored to complete high school with all of you standing here at our final destination in our four-year goal.”
Catina recalled many fond memories from the class of 2018’s journey to graduation day. She also spoke about how her classmates welcomed her when she moved to Whitefish.
“Thank you class of 2018 for showing me that everyone has a little bit of kindness to give,” she said.
After the graduates passed across the stage to get their diplomas, Principal Kerry Drown said the class had selected the DREAM Adaptive program, which has a mission to enhance the quality of life of individuals with disabilities through adaptive recreation, to be the recipients of a donation.
“We as a class picked this charity to bring light to some or our own who have benefited from this — Abbie Kurtz and Amanda Lawrence,” said Drown reading a message from the class. “The DREAM foundation has worked with many students who have passed through the halls of Whitefish High School.”
Then in a voice filled with emotion, he addressed the graduates one final time.
“From that moment you joined Whitefish High School as nervous wide-eyed freshman and walked the shiny hallways of this new school,” he said. “To that moment yesterday when you walked those same hallways as a student for the very last time, you’ve left your mark.”
He said the climate and culture of a school is defined by its people and like a steel cable, it’s made one strand at a time, woven together to create an incredibly strong bond.
“Each of you in your own way made contributions to Whitefish High School,” he said. “You should be proud of those. When you reflect back at your time here at Whitefish High School, be proud and know that you have a foundation as strong as any. You’re ready for more than you imagine.”
He told the graduates to seek out new adventures, but no matter what follow the advice of country music star Tim McGraw to “always be humble and kind.”
“Class of 2018, I wish you a great journey and whatever you choose to do,” he said. “Do it with grit.”