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RHS graduates encouraged to “Go forth and shine”

by BERL TISKUS
Reporter | June 6, 2024 12:00 AM

With the class motto “2 Cool 4 School,” the Ronan High School Class of 2024 has spunk, character and lots of enthusiasm. 

The 82 graduates walked on May 31 at 7 p.m. to the RHS football field to “Pomp and Circumstance.” Drum group Buckshot played an honor song for the students and the many years they spent studying and attending school.

Salutatorian Beaudeen Decker left his classmates with a quotation to ponder from Mark Zuckerberg, who said,”Ideas don't come out fully formed , they only become clearer as you work on them.” Zuckerberg brainstormed and worked with his four roommates and four other Harvard University students in 2004 to form Facebook, a social technology site, now called Meta.

Valedictorian Nichole Koehler spoke about the importance of connections and experiences we have with other people and encouraged students to remember their peers through bad times and good.

She quoted Master Oogway from “Kung Foo Panda”:  “Quit, don't quit. Noodles, don't noodles … There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift.” 

If the Class of 2024 melds Master Oogway’s appreciation of each day and Zuckerberg’s keep-working-on-your-ideas message, who knows what wondrous things will be wrought by them?  

“I've known some of you since you were in preschool,” said graduation speaker/teacher Claire Hibbs-Cheff with a tremor in her voice. This graduation class includes her daughter, Juliette.

Poetically, Hibbs-Cheff described graduation as “a liminal moment” when young people are “tipped over into adulthood.” She also noted generations of each graduate’s ancestors are supporting them, standing behind them “coded into their DNA.” She repeated Sufi poet Hafiz’s advice that after faith, “Your greatest love affair must be with yourself.” 

Ending her speech, Hibbs-Cheff quoted from Walt Whitman’s poem, “The Long Road,” telling the young adults, “The open road awaits, go forth and shine.”

Then the diplomas were presented by the board of trustees and Vice-Principal Jessica Johnson. According to Johnson, the Class of 2024 had been appropriating items from her office all year. 

Board Chair Bob Cornwall pulled the cover from a table nearby, and the piece de resistance, Johnson’s desk. Everyone laughed, and Johnson presented the Class of 2024. Confetti and mortarboards filled the air as graduates marched out. 


    Ronan Class of 2024 Salutatorian Beaudean Decker speaks to the spectators at Ronan's graduation on May 29. (Berl Tiskus/Leader)
 
 
    Ronan graduate Coleton Sherman has a big grin on his face as he heads to greet the Ronan High School teachers. (Berl Tiskus/Leader)
 
 
Lei Cunningham-Hoyt gives a favorite teacher a hug at Ronan graduation. (Berl Tiskus/Leader)
Ronan graduate Jyles Baker carried his star quilt as he and his classmates left the football field after Friday night's graduation. (Berl Tiskus/Leader)