By Sandra Cordie
“Honorees, in less than two months your high school education will be complete.
Are you ready?
Do you know what is going to happen next?
Are you absolutely certain?
These questions were posed by keynote speaker Kale Van Bruggen at the 30th Annual Students of Excellence Banquet and Recognition Ceremony on Wednesday, April 26. Van Bruggen went on to say “Twelve years ago I was graduating from high school. I came from a small, rural community in North Dakota. I knew what was next; I was ready; and I was absolutely certain where I’d be in my career as a music teacher.” But one semester into college he knew that his interest in music was a hobby not a passion. “I needed to discover my passion and do the research to launch that into a career.”
As the crowd of 600 gathered in the foyer waiting for the doors to open, students, parents and educators greeted one another and visited about spring activities, upcoming graduation and college plans. The atmosphere was filled with warmth and laughter and pride.
The evening’s presentations began with Mark Schmitz, executive director of Resource Training & Solutions, welcoming everyone to the 30th annual event. Schmitz congratulated seniors and told of two important pieces of advice he learned a long time ago from a school in Texas. “This school had two guiding principles, simply work hard and be nice. This school’s demographics would indicate the students should not do well in school or even graduate. However, the students did do well and graduation rates far exceeded their expected results.”
“These two ideas will carry you far in life,” he added.
Teresa Dupre, from Rush City School District, served as the presiding superintendent for the event.
By Sandra Cordie