Hillman graduates 30 during commencement ceremony

News Photo by Zipporah Abarca Students filed in one by one into the gymnasium as Hillman’s concert band played in the background on Sunday.

HILLMAN — Hillman High School’s graduation began with the 30 seniors filing in one by one in-front of their friends and family that filled the gymnasium fold out chairs.

The Hillman concert band played as the students made their entrance and smiled for the many phones and cameras flashing amongst the audience.

After the band played the national anthem, graduating student Amelia Burwell took the stage to welcome supporters and her fellow classmates to the event. Through thankful tears, Burwell expressed the importance of this day and being apart of the senior class of 2023. Draped behind her and speakers to come, a Hillman Tiger mascot banner stood tall.

For the baccaclaureate portion of the ceremony, community member Marsha Marquardt said everything the students do, no matter how big or small, has an impact on their lives and their friends and family. And as the students have conquered going to school during a pandemic and other challenges that have surfaced during their high school careers, they always have support whether they leave home or stay.

“…life is about to unfold for you in all forms … buckle up and laugh along the way, it makes life long…,” Marquardt said.

Salutatorian Brooke Bennett followed after and said she will cherish her memories she has shared with her classmates. She dedicated parts of her speech to her parents, her baby sister Abby and to the class of 2023.

“To the class of 2023, this is it…,” Bennett said.

Valedictorians Julia Taratuta and Brody Applegren strode onto the stage one after the other to discuss similar points. The two separately talked about the journey of high school and the many challenges they’ve had to face to get to where they are now.

Taratuta said some of the students have been together all four years, whereas others may have joined the school a little later. Nevertheless, “we are Hillman’s class of 2023.”

“No matter how much we try to take a step back, it will not make these last few moments of high school longer,” Applegren said.

One of the class Advisors Kelly Burwell, also mother to graduating senior Amelia Burwell, congratulated the class of 2023 on their many achievements that brought them to this moment.

Students were then invited to walk the stage, accept their diploma’s and turn their tassles. Supporter’s cheered and clapped for every student’s name that was called, filling the atmosphere with love and joy.

Once all 30 students walked the stage, Principal Kelly Nichols said a few words.

“I wish you all the best no matter where life takes you,” Nichols said.

She then asked for every person in the room to “please stand in welcoming the class of 2023.”

The loudest cheer arose from the gymnasium that was heard that afternoon. Students threw their decorated caps in the air with laughter and smiles as they looked at one another taking the moment in.


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