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Hats off to you, grads!

The Perham High School class of 2013 throws their mortarboards in the air as the school’s newest graduates.

“After today, we begin to go our separate ways,” said graduating senior Tanya Berns as she spoke in front of a packed house at Perham High School’s graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 26.

“We are entering a new phase of our lives,” said co-speaker Seth Stafki, who went on to compare the class of 2013 to a jigsaw puzzle in the sense that every member of the 117-strong class is part of a cohesive whole, even though some are “bigger or more colorful” than others.

Guest speaker Sandra Sedivy, who was the school district’s Teacher of the Year in 2012, received a standing ovation after her speech encouraging graduates to pursue their passion.

“You can’t make it (passion)” she said, but “you can spread it, because it is contagious… Yes, you can have that rewarding job. Happiness can be yours as long as you remember to keep that passion alive.”

Larry Wankel and Kevin Kosiak lead performances of several songs throughout the ceremony, including the theme from “New York, New York” and U2’s “MLK.”

High school Principal Ehren Zimmerman, in his speech presenting the graduating class, encouraged students to “trust your decisions,” and told them, “do not be afraid to fail when searching for greatness.”

Senior Brian Howey closed out the ceremony by quoting author Neil Gaiman, saying, “…that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself – make new mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is – art, or love, or work or family or life.”

In his own words, Howey then encouraged his fellow students to “boldly go and make mistakes like no one has made mistakes before” to a chorus of laughter and applause.