The big day
Perham High School's class of 2017 moved their graduation tassels from right to left at Sunday afternoon's commencement ceremony, officiating them as high school students no more.
The ceremony began with the traditional "Pomp and Circumstance," played by the Perham High School Band, and the Perham High School Swing Choir sang the national anthem.
But it was off the grid from there with a speech by Perham High School social studies instructors Robb Moser and Cory Solberg. The two, who both had kids of their own participating in the ceremony, promised (and, mostly, joked) to throw off the shackles of school administration and deliver some "fatherly advice" to the graduating class.
"Congratulations on finishing one of the easiest parts of your life and realizing it's nothing like 'High School Musical,'" Solberg began with a laugh, but quickly getting (semi) serious. "If you thought this test was tough...wait 'til you've been married for 25 years. Wait until you have three kids that eat you out of house and home. Wait until you have car payments. Wait until you have a mortgage payment. Wait until your air exchanger goes out. Wait until your..." he trailed off, dramatically wiping sweat from his forehead.
From there, the two fired off advice in the form of jokes and adages, the way a stereotypical dad does.
"Remember that roommates are like allergies: they will come and they will go, but some will be severe," quipped Solberg.
Covering topics "from sauerkraut to spouses" in their speech, Moser reminded the students that one of the most important decisions they will make is who they will marry.
"Realize that marriage is a sacred relationship in which one person is right, and the other person is the husband," he said, garnering a laugh and an applause from the audience.
Though it wasn't all jokes.
"Realize that life isn't always fair," said Solberg. "Tragedies, cancer, mental illness will impact your life in some way in the future. Remember that every path you take, there will always be a few bumps."
Trying to prepare the students for the peaks and valleys in an unpredictable path ahead, the speech ended with a reminder to the students to have fun—and to hug their mothers every chance they get.
With that, Perham High School Principal Ehren Zimmerman prepared to hand out diplomas to an eager class of 2017, reminding them that it's normal to have some fear about the vast unknown, which lay just across the commencement stage. "Be true to yourself," Zimmerman said, his final words of advice to the students. "Make decisions on what's best for you. Use your resources, and trust yourself."