HURLEY — Saturday’s graduation ceremony at the Hurley K-12 School focused not only the accomplishments of the graduates, but of those who helped them get that far.
Forty-five seniors walked across the stage to receive their high school diploma, after thanking parents, teachers, family and friends for their help.
At the beginning of the ceremony, superintendent Chris Patritto said that the school would also be recognizing the faculty and staff in the district.
“They have a big impact on these kids, outside of family members,” Patritto said. “For all of their hard work dedication, we wanted them to be part of the ceremony too.”
Afterwards, the graduates walked in, performing a song from J.E. Murphy entitled “Away Away,” written in 1924.
School board president Joe Simonich welcomed attendees and challenged the graduates to be “possibilitarian.”
“Raise your sights and see the possibilities,” Simonich said. “Look outside the box to find the possibilities in every day situations.”
Simonich also spoke about the support that the students will get.
“They (teachers and parents) have been leading you, teaching you and telling you what to do,” Simonich said. “But there is a reason why they are sitting behind you. You are now ready to lead and we will all stand behind you, ready to be there when you need us.”
Valedictorian Adrienne Fedora spoke about the graduates’ class motto, “Keep on keepin’ on.” Despite it “not even being proper English,” Fedora said that she was glad that it was short.
“When we were told to write our speeches, we were given packets to help us,” Fedora said. “The packets were 13 pages, filled with quotes, psalms and lyrics. For me, it was nice to have something short to get back to.”
Fedora also talked about how much the students had changed since graduating in kindergarten. According to her, some of the students said that when they grew up, they wanted to raise bunnies, catch butterflies and more.
“Our dreams have changed since then,” Fedora said.
In Patritto’s speech, he spoke about a former graduate who visits Hurley as often as he can.
“I always think about Lefty Martino who graduated in 1944,” Patritto said. “He has always had pride for this school district and the traditions that we have. This community and this school district has such overwhelming pride for our alumni and that is what makes the Hurley School what it is. You are all now a part of those rich traditions.”
Salutatorian Anna Olson presented the idea of living life to the fullest during her speech, especially since the students were now entering “the real world.”
“Everything happens for a reason,” Olson said. “But 20 years from now, you will have more regrets about what you didn’t do versus what you did. Don’t let that happen.”
High school principal Jeff Gulan also spoke about thanking the support system that graduates had throughout their education. He asked parents and grandparents to stand so graduates could thank them with applause.
“Without them, you would not be sitting in those chairs,” Gulan said. “We are all so proud of your accomplishments. This building and yourself have changed, classmates have come and gone, but you all remain and you are ready. You once had lofty dreams, and now it’s time to dream again.”
Gulan also spoke about reacting positively to situations.
“Someone once said 5 percent of your life is change and the other 95 percent is how you react to it,” Gulan said. “Always react positively, and my advice is go out and make a fabulous second chapter to your life. You are always a Midget and we are all so proud of you.”
For more information, call the Hurley School District at 715-561-4900, or visit hurley.k12.wi.us.