PLATTSMOUTH – Members of Plattsmouth’s Class of 2019 marked their graduation ceremony Saturday morning with music, memories and many moments of happiness.
Hundreds of people filled Plattsmouth High School’s main gym to watch the district’s 129th commencement ceremony. Plattsmouth officials awarded degrees to more than 125 graduates during the 90-minute event. Audience members listened to speeches, heard live music performances and watched seniors cross the stage with their diplomas.
Five Plattsmouth valedictorians gave addresses to the crowd. Hailey Heikkila, Jayden Wooten, Ethan Warrick, Hee-Chan Han and Claire Albers all finished their high school careers with 4.0 grade point averages. They were also involved in numerous extracurricular activities at PHS.
Heikkila focused her speech on the people who helped the Class of 2019 reach graduation day. She said she and other seniors wanted to express their appreciation to parents, teachers, coaches, school employees and their fellow classmates.
“Thank you to everyone who shaped our future,” Heikkila said. “We will forever be grateful.”
Wooten used the phrase “Go forth and set the world on fire” as the basis for his speech. He said he had discovered the answers to many questions over the past four years, but he knew there was still much learning to be done. He said he and other seniors would treasure their time at Plattsmouth.
“We discovered our passions and made memories that will last a lifetime,” Wooten said.
Warrick told the audience he and his classmates were conflicted about their feelings on graduation day. He said they were excited to receive diplomas but were also sad about leaving behind family and friends to start new adventures. He said everyone was confident about their ability to make positive impacts on society.
“Now it’s time for us to make our mark on the world,” Warrick said.
Han led the crowd down memory lane with several stories about events that had happened at PHS over the past four years. He said Class of 2019 members recognized they would not have reached this point without guidance from those in the audience.
“I’d like to thank everyone who came out to support us today,” Han said.
Albers focused her words on what it means to be successful. She said success was not a one-size-fits-all concept as every individual could determine what it meant to them. She said she preferred to view it as being happy in all aspects of life.
“People rarely stop to evaluate what true success means,” Albers said. “For me, it’s contentment.”
Class members began their day by walking into the gym as Tina Harvey led the PHS band in “Pomp and Circumstance.” Class of 2019 President Elijah Dupre welcomed the audience to the ceremony and then introduced the five valedictorians.
The ceremony took a musical turn after the five seniors delivered their speeches. Hannah Bowles sang “I’ll Always Remember You” and Chanapol Manpakdee accompanied her on guitar. Sarah Babe delivered a solo rendition of “Well Done” for the crowd, and members of the PHS Senior Choir sang “A Million Dreams” in front of the stage. Courtney Edwards provided piano accompaniment and Chris Work directed the choir.
Plattsmouth teacher Bob Dzuris went on stage and surprised Plattsmouth Assistant Principal/Activities Director Shaun Brothers with a tribute. Dzuris and Brothers taught and coached football together in 1992 and have remained friends since then. Dzuris praised Brothers for his dedication to Plattsmouth and for providing a positive work environment.
All of the audience members then rose to their feet and gave Brothers a standing ovation. He will be retiring from his position at PHS at the end of the school year.
PHS Principal Todd Halvorsen gave a keynote speech prior to the presentation of diplomas. He encouraged graduates to set goals and approach life with enthusiasm and passion. He also felt members of the Class of 2019 could accomplish all of their dreams.
“Most of us here can attest to the talents of this class,” Halvorsen said. “This class is so much more than a GPA, a takedown, a touchdown or being on a stage. They are hard workers, are dedicated and are committed to what they do.”