WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) --     WWG — Sunday afternoon,  37 seniors  anxiously awaited their final act as seniors — as they faced the reality of their graduation! For the most part, they appeared to be nonchalant, donning their caps and gowns, as Carolyn Enstad, Mrs. Kletscher, and Ms. Sandbulte pinned on their class flower, gold tipped white rose. In the lunch room and hallway of the high school, the seniors gathered in small groups chatting, and taking photos. The calmness of the scene, showed little of the seniors  emotions which were likely running high, as they lined up to march into the gym filled with friends and relatives for their final act as seniors.

    Then the moment the seniors had been working towards the past 13 years had arrived, as the seniors marched into the gymnasium two by two at 2:00 p.m. as the band played the traditional Fanfare & Processional. Followed by the  National Anthem under the direction of Mrs. Crystal Sonsalla. Then the band played the school song Go U Northwestern.

    The lights were turned off and a slide presentation was presented, which was prepared by the senior class.

    Principal Loy Woelber introduced the senior speakers chosen by the  senior class, Pahnia Vue and  Mason Garbe.

    Vue talked about how she and her classmates spent many years together, side by side, complaining, learning, whining, and growing. She said “I am glad that next year, I won’t be seeing any one of you, and I mean that in the nicest way possible.” She mused, “We are on our way to the future, and I hope that your future is everything that you want it to be.”

    “After all this time, there is only one thing that I have to say, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart — I wish you a future of happiness, Class of 2017,” she concluded.

    Garbe started his address saying, “I’ve always heard the phrase ‘Children are the future.’ We’re not children anymore and we’re not the future, we’re the present. We now get to go out into the world,  make our own decisions, and impact the world we live in. It’s exciting and terrifying.”

    He talked about how their decisions never before carried so much weight or has so much impact. We have our friends and family to help guide us through this part of our lives.  “If you ever feel anxious or nervous don’t be afraid to ask for help,” he said.

    Garbe closed saying, “no matter what choices we make, places we go, or things that we do,  we will always be WWG’s Class  of 2017.”

    Two vocal numbers were performed by Dynamic Sound and the high school choir respectively, Fly Away Home, and  See You Again directed by Mr. Luke Nelson.

    After the introduction of high honor students  Mr. Loy Woelber introduced the commencement address speaker, science teacher, Mr.  Patrick Merrick.

    Merrick started his address talking about how he watched this class going through tee ball, swimming lessons, and visits to Nickelodeon Universe, and I have stood in front of each of you pleading to see the glories of a rainbow or an iconic bond or even a cold Coke and a Snickers. “I have the last opportunity to talk to you as one group ever. What wisdom do I have, what can I say to you now, minutes before you leave that is worthy of this .... honestly! I got nothing!”

    Sooo. Instead, I am going to tell you what I have learned from you.

    These are five life lessons I learned just from being with y you.

    1. I learned that you are valuable. Period. You are valuable not because of what you can do, not because of what you offer, not because of what you accomplished. Never ever tell yourself that you don’t matter. You are so valuable but you are not special.

    2. I learned that two very similar words do not have the same meaning. They are the words Well and Good. I am so proud of you. You all worked hard. Studied hard. You have been successful in arts,  athletics and  academics.  You have done well.

    3. I have learned from you that being who I am is a pretty good thing. You are valuable just the way you are. However a word of caution. Be o.k. with who you are, but don’t be stagnant. Being who you are should never stop you from becoming who you were meant to be.

    4. Number 4 is as much for your parents as it is for you. It is blunt advice I got from one of you — “Mr. Merrick — Just shut up and listen!” There is a wealth of knowledge out there, an ocean of stories. Listen to them before they are gone. Trust me, your grandparents and aunts and uncles will not be around forever, don’t miss the chance to sit at their feet and listen.

    “Know this my dear brothers: everyone should be quick to hear and slow to speak.” James 1:19. Since I just opened that door, the best listening you will ever do will happen for one hour every Sunday morning. Don’t miss it.

    5. Do what you are afraid of — try the weird food truck, ask her out, jump.  Now truth be told,  you will fail, the food will make you sick, the girl will say no and it will probably leave a scar. But oh the memories you will have.

    Many of you will find yourself in a strange world of dorms and even stranger roommates. Go to the dance, and then dance! Go to the club meeting, play catch outside.

    Finally, I wish that all of you can go to bed each night with a smile and the thought “Well world — today might have been great, and today might have been tough but world at least you knew I was there.”

    Following the commencement address Principal Loy Woelber presented the graduating class.         Diploma’s were presented by Board Chairperson Maydra Maas.

    The Class of 2017 moved their tassels and threw their mortar board caps into the air. The class marched out of the gymnasium to the tune of Fanfare  and Recessional by the high school band.

    The class formed a reception line in front  of the high school.