Weather Forecast


Laughter and sincerity mark 2014 commencement ceremony

Following the Perham High School Class of 2014 Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, graduates and their family members and friends gathered outside of the gymnasium to celebrate and take pictures. Above are graduates Megan Leslie, Mary Riestenberg and Trey Moberg, left to right. Elizabeth Huwe/FOCUS 1 / 3
Emma Sweere was one of 12 seniors who addressed the assembled graduates, relatives and community members. “We’re on the verge of not a new world, but simply a new chapter,” she said. Elizabeth Huwe/FOCUS2 / 3
Three generations of the Salathe clan gathered to celebrate Hunter’s graduation on May 25. From left to right are Angel, Kelvin, Samantha, Hunter, Michelle, Jerauld and Marlys Salathe. Elizabeth Huwe/FOCUS3 / 3

Sunday’s ceremony started with a ‘selfie’ as Perham High School sent off the graduating class of 2014.

Student speakers who led the commencement balanced humor with sincerity throughout the program, especially when remembering two special people who should have been present in the gymnasium that day.

They shared memories of Carson Breitenfeldt, wishing that he would have also had the chance to graduate and walk across the stage, and Rebecca Rennicke, a favorite high school science teacher.

“We learned from her how to be better college students, but most importantly, how to enjoy laughter,” said Racole Karels.

“In memory of Ren(nicke), we would like to take this time to laugh, as she would not like us to be dull,” she said, as Elizabeth Fudge and Joshua Still held up signs saying “laugh now.”

Amidst laughter and embarrassing stories, students also recognized the significance of the day.

“We’re looking directly into our futures now; closer than ever before,” said Alyssa Studer in her speech.

Of the thought that she and her classmates were entering the ‘real world,’ Emma Sweere said, “I never really liked using that term. I believe being young did not make our world any less real…  Our world has been real and important the whole time, the only difference is now the land of opportunities, as well as responsibility, is laying before us.”

“We’re on the verge of not a new world,” she said, “but simply a new chapter.”

“You are a fantastic group of individuals,” said Perham High School Principal Ehren Zimmerman as he presented the class.

According to the program, 116 students graduated in the May 25 ceremony.

Of the graduates, 15 had a grade point average of 3.90 or higher, 77 percent plan to go on to post-secondary education, 4 percent intend to enter military service and 19 percent will now enter the work force.

The class motto, “Success is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved,” came from an unknown author.