IRONWOOD - The Luther L. Wright High School class of 2014 was urged to work hard to overcome life's obstacles and remember and be proud of their roots during the school's 124th commencement Sunday in Ironwood.
"No matter how many times you get knocked down, a little voice inside should be saying, 'You're not done,'" social studies and U.S. history teacher Ted Sim said in his commencement address to the 53 graduates. "When life gives you sour milk, make a chocolate cake."
Sim advised the seniors to focus on the two most important character traits according to him: Perseverance and passion.
"Find your passion in life and follow it," he said. "Whatever it is, live it. ...It may not make life easier, but it does guarantee happiness."
Sim encouraged students to travel and experience everything the world has to offer. but to always remember home and be proud to be from Ironwood and to be a Red Devil.
Superintendent Tim Kolesar had a similar message. "Work hard and remember where you came from," he said. "Be proud of what you have accomplished."
Senior class president Jonathan Erickson told his classmates it's up to each of them to decide what success means to them and to figure out which direction "up" is. Once they do that, he said, "any position, opportunity or success can be achieved."
"Whatever 'up' is to a person, it is always reachable," Erickson said.
Erickson asked the audience to observe a moment of silence for classmate Trevor Mylly, who passed away in September.
Student Senate president Ethan Johnson also urged his classmates to do what will make them happy. "It's our job to find out what our interests are and pursue them," he said.
Johnson also spoke to underclassmen, telling them to treasure the time they have left as it will pass quickly. He said he's proud to be from Ironwood and encouraged classmates to speak to him whenever they see him in the future.
"I have a lifetime of memories thanks to you guys," Johnson said. "Today, we are here as one."
Principal Michelle Kanipes recognized many groups of graduates, including honors students who earned GPAs of 3.0 or higher, and scholarship winners who collectively received more than $112,000 so far for college education. Other senior groups that individually stood for applause included class officers and representatives, music department members, JROTC cadets, students entering the military, athletes, Quiz Bowl participants, Business Professionals of America members and yearbook staff.
Kanipes also had parents and guardians stand for recognition of their "hard work, support and achievement" through the years. "Your support has ensured that these young men and women have secured a high school diploma today," she said.
Fifty-three diplomas were awarded and tassels were turned.
"Our final wish is that their futures are filled with much health, happiness and success," Kanipes said.