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Speakers remind Polson grads "time is precious"

by KRISTI NIEMEYER
Editor | June 6, 2024 12:00 AM

From the opening notes of Pomp and Circumstance to the confetti-filled flinging of mortarboards, Polson’s graduation ceremony Saturday was a blend of humor and poignancy, pride and playfulness.

The 111 seniors officially graduated from Polson High in a ceremony lead by valedictorians  Carson Hupka, Ashley Maki, Carli Maley, Kai McDonald, Olivia Rogers and Isabel Seeley.

In her valediction, Seeley reminded her classmates that they entered high school in the midst of a global pandemic.

“From freshman year, complete the social distancing, wearing a mask and extensive hand sanitizer, to now, our hours at this school have been filled with memories,” she said.

Time – whether it was the interval between bells, the 40 minutes given to write an English essay, or the five second countdown for bad behavior – was their taskmaster.

“Back then, we were too young to be trusted with our own time, too naive to understand the powers that time holds,” she told her peers. “However, once we walk out of these doors, time is placed into our hands.”

“I would invite you then to be grateful for the time you have on this earth,” she suggested. “View time as a luxury, a privilege, and spend it doing the things you love with the people you love.”

Commencement speaker and PHS social studies teacher Thomas Spencer also focused on time, invoking the sober Latin phrase memento mori, “remember, you must die.”

“Far from being a depressing statement on the nature of human life, I think this is actually a vital lesson in living a good life,” he told students.

“Time is precious,” he advised them. “What will the 90-year-old you consider a good life?”

He urged them to focus less on making money and more on “creating community all around you. In all your pursuits, pursue the good,” he said.

    The graduation of Polson's Uriah Ulutoa was celebrated with layers of leis, presented by family and friends Saturday. (Kristi Niemeyer/Leader)
 
 
    THE TURNING OF THE TASSELS: Valedictorian Julia Barnard (at the podium), flanked by Kai McDonald (left) Ashley Maki (right) prepares Polson graduates to flip their tassels from right to left – signifying their final step between high school and whatever comes next. (Kristi Niemeyer/Leader)
 
 
    PHS graduates Gus Hertz and Brant Heninger head to the stage to accept their diplomas Saturday. (Kristi Niemeyer/Leader)
 
 
    Jake Feistner checks out the diploma received Saturday by his son, Polson High grad Justus Feistner. (Kristi Niemeyer/Leader)
 
 
    Row of freshly-minted Polson graduates checks out their diplomas. (Kristi Niemeyer/Leader)
 
 
    Polson's 117-member Class of 2024 appears to be contemplating their future during Saturday's commencement ceremony, alongside teachers Becky Hoxie and Carson Oakland. (Kristi Niemeyer/Leader)
 
 
    Badgertail Drum helped launch commencement festivities Saturday at Linderman Gym in Polson. (Kristi Niemeyer/Leader)