PLATTSMOUTH – Area residents packed the Plattsmouth High School gym Saturday morning to watch the district’s 128th commencement ceremony.
Plattsmouth Community Schools officials awarded degrees to more than 100 graduates at the event. The ceremony featured live music, speeches, recognition of honor students and the presentation of diplomas.
Members of the PHS Air Force Junior ROTC led off the day by presenting the nation’s colors. A brass quintet comprised of PHS seniors Griffin Gillen, Shannon McKinley, Zakary Neumann, Grace Roby and Timothy Schreiber played the national anthem during the presentation.
Plattsmouth Senior Class President Garrett Quinn welcomed the large crowd with an introductory address. Shannon McKinley and Megan Sohl then delivered senior addresses on the stage. McKinley and Sohl each earned cumulative 4.0 grade point averages in their PHS careers.
The middle portion of the ceremony featured several musical numbers. Alene Groenjes sang “Old Man” and members of the PHS Senior Choir sang “Fly Away Home” for the audience. Lexi Kuhn and Griffin Gillen then performed an original piece entitled “Reach for the Stars.” Gillen played piano and Kuhn provided vocals for the song.
PHS Principal Jeff Wiles continued the ceremony by recognizing all seniors who graduated with grade point averages above 3.50. McKinley, Sohl and Kira Cantrell all compiled 4.0 marks during their time at Plattsmouth.
Chloe Andersen, Hunter Blankman, Chloe Budd, David Engelmeyer, Griffin Gillen, Alene Groenjes, Lexi Kuhn, Breauna Marcoe, Brandie Marling, Haley Miller, Zoey Mitchell, Cameron Morse, Katie Oatman, Rachel Phillips, Alaina Pogreba, Maddy Porter, Garrett Quinn, Draven Ray, Grace Roby, Colleen Rypkema, Alexis Stanley, Shauna Thiessen and Sierra Witherell all earned GPAs of 3.50-3.99 in their PHS careers.
Wiles then encouraged students to create bright futures in his keynote speech. He told them it was important to develop character traits such as respect for others, humility and trustworthiness. He said those types of qualities would help them become successful in all aspects of their lives.
Wiles and PHS math teacher Belinda Davidson each received standing ovations during the ceremony. Both announced earlier this year that they would be retiring from the district.
Plattsmouth Activities Director/Assistant Principal Shaun Brothers presented Wiles with an inscribed Plattsmouth Blue Devils golf bag during the first part of the ceremony. Students then picked up individual golf balls in the auxiliary gym as they were waiting to receive their diplomas. They then gave the golf balls to Wiles as he gave them congratulatory handshakes.