219 turn tassels during Alpena High graduation

News Photos by Steve Schulwitz A trio of graduates from Alpena High School enter the field at Park Family Field at Wildcat Stadium for the annual commencements ceremony on Sunday.

ALPENA — During the Alpena High School graduation ceremony on Sunday, the concert choir performed the hit song “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus and the lyrics of the song may best fit the graduates time in Alpena Public Schools and offered a lesson for what lies ahead.

This year’s class had 219 graduates and they were saluted at Park Family Field at Wildcat Stadium under a blue and sunny sky, with the grandstands packed to capacity.

After the board of education and administrative staff were settled into their seats, the seniors made their entrance onto the field to the traditional graduation song Pomp and Circumstance as cheers, whistles, and clapping rained down from the people in the bleachers. After an introduction and a brief message from High School Principal Romeo Bourdage, Tori Eller performed her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and the choir seamlessly sang the motivational song by Cyrus.

Fittingly, student representative speaker Rebekah Carlson’s address to her classmates mimicked some of the lyrics from the song, as Carlson said it seems like only a short time ago that the students were in kindergarten together sitting in alphabetical order and now, on graduation day, they were one again arranged by their names from A to Z.

She said the class has had its share of trials and tribulations, but from the hard times, character and crit was developed and that will allow them to prosper as they move onto the next chapter of their lives.

“Our class has really molded into a group of individuals who are able to adapt and overcome any obstacle thrown at you. We aren’t in control of the circumstances that we find ourselves in, but we are in control of our reactions and our attitudes,” Carlson said. “We are able to adapt and overcome, and not just make the best, but make the most out of every situation.”

As her speech wound down, Carlson said she is confident each graduate will become successful and all have a bright future. She reminded her classmates that success isn’t measured in how much money you have or what type and how many possessions one owns, but in other more endearing aspects of a person’s life.

“Success is not found in the car you drive or the house you live in,” she said. “Success is found in our hands and in our heart. Success is liking yourself and what you do and liking how you do it.”

Before the conclusion of her address, Carlson shared what she believes the three secrets to success are with her classmates and urged them to apply them if needed.

“One, Never forget where you came from. Two, Don’t just take, give back,” Carlson said. “Three, success resides in your hands and in your heart and finally, you are in control of your attitude. Thank you and best of luck.”

During the ceremony, a video commemorating the graduates time in high schools was played and showed many of the fun times the students shared and some personal accomplishments. Soon, it was time for the Class of 2023 to receive their diplomas and the turning of the tassels signified the graduates were ready to move on to the next chapter of their lives.


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