Suring Class of 2023 challenged and cheered

Years of school together remembered and celebrated
Warren Bluhm

Kindness was a theme at the 2023 Suring High School graduation ceremony, held in the school gymnasium May 20.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted,” Principal Benjamin Kessler said, quoting from Aesop’s Fables in his welcoming remarks.

In her address, valedictorian Macie Reed encouraged her classmates to “radiate kindness.” She cited the familiar quote that 10 years from now people will forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.

“I know it’s kind of cheesy, but throw kindness with confetti,” Reed said.

She challenged the Class of 2023 to “dare to soar,” saying they will always be bonded no matter where they go from here.

“Remember that no matter our past, or how we were raised, or our journey up until this point, there’s a reason and a plan for our lives,” Reed said. “Always push yourselves to rise above your greatest obstacles and to live beyond your wildest dreams.”

Salutatorian Hailey Thomson talked about the memories accumulated in the class’s years together since kindergarten, including occasional dramatic entrances to school dances.

“You know you come from a small town when you have a group of kids show up to prom in a cattle trailer, red carpet and all,” Thomson said.

The Class of 2023 started their high school years with the “curve ball” of measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, she recalled.

“When it first started in our freshman year, we all thought, ‘Sweet, two weeks out of school and we’ll be back,’” Thomson said. “Never in a million years did that our lives would we have thought that our lives were about to look very different.”

With school shut down, she remembered how classmates tried to keep up their spirits with drive-by birthday parades, leave gift boxes at each other’s doorsteps and social media challenges

The class honored two 35-year faculty members who are retiring at the end of this school year — Kristen Trader, who taught English and German, and athletic director and coach Heidi Gerndt — by dedicating their year book to the pair.

“These two individuals have always put their heart and soul into teaching,” Lily Hakes said in introducing them. “Both of them have gone beyond the role of a teacher. Their hard work and dedication is what have shaped us all as individuals today.”

Trader told the graduates they don’t know how much the past 35 years has meant to her.

“It has been a privilege to be with this school, with this community, with these families, multi-generations,” Trader said. “It’s a family, whether it’s a classroom or a school or a community, and I’m passionate about that, I’m passionate about public education, and you guys know how I feel. I’m going to miss you.”

Gerndt provided the group with words of advice.

“This is your day; you have earned it,” she said. “Remember there is no script that you have to follow out there. I challenge you: Be bold, be courageous and be your best.”

With that, she sent the 24 seniors out with a cry of, “Suring proud.”