On to the next chapter

Published 2:30 pm Saturday, June 4, 2016

Albert Lea 2016 seniors graduate


Albert Lea High School graduating seniors were reminded to live life to the fullest Friday by a local representative. 

Email newsletter signup

In a speech delivered to the soon-to-be graduates and a packed high school gymnasium, District 27A Rep. Peggy Bennett read a poem that referenced a dash between the time someone is born and when someone dies.

Bennett, R-Albert Lea, said it does not matter what you own but how you live, love and spend your dash.

Bennett — a first-grade teacher at Sibley Elementary School for more than 30 years —  told the seniors  you never know how much time is left in your life and urged them to be slow to anger, treat people with respect and remember that their dash might only last for a little while.

She urged the graduates to never say never, and noted she could not have imagined getting into politics when she was a young adult or being a teacher when she was a girl.

She mentioned graduates who had been in her class in 2004-05, and urged them to be involved in government.

The ceremony also included a performance by the Albert Lea concert choir. The choir performed “This Day,” and “Time of Your Life.”

Executive Director of Administrative Services Jim Quiram in a speech applauded graduates who overcame difficulty in obtaining their diploma. Quiram urged the graduates to enjoy the night, noting experience breeds knowledge.

“Experience is a great teacher,” he said, noting graduating allows graduates to be in the driver’s seat to facilitate change in their lives.

Student speakers Ahnika Jensen and Alex Syverson delivered a humorous, yet serious speech about the past and the future.

“Work hard,” Syverson said. “If you put in average effort, expect average results.”

Syverson capped off the speech with a nod to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

“We are going to make America great again,” he said.

The crowd stood and applauded when Tom Kozelsky walked on behalf of his son, William, who is in United States Marines boot camp training and will be home toward the end of July.

Graduate Parker Mullenbach said after the ceremony that it had not hit him yet that his high school career is over.

“It’s just crazy,” Mullenbach said. “It’s crazy it’s over, and I’m ready for the next chapter in my life.”

Mullenbach plans to attend Luther College and play baseball.

Rita Moyer — mother of graduate Sam Moyer — said she was proud and filled with emotion.

“Time goes by so quickly, but it’s wonderful to be here and it’s exciting for him; new opportunities coming up,” she said.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

email author More by Sam