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Superior celebrates its high school graduates

by AMY QUINLIVAN
Mineral Independent | June 9, 2021 12:00 AM

On May 30, under the midday sun on the bleachers of the football field, 18 young adults nervously sat awaiting the announcement of their name to walk across the stage and claim their hard-earned diplomas.

The 2021 graduating class of Superior High School was like any other group of adolescents, an assortment of athletes, and artists, bookworms, and musicians. Each student gifted and talented in their own unique ways, this diversity ultimately forges the deep friendships that these youth would need most as they journeyed through high school and made it to graduation day.

Lauren VanCleaf opened the commencement ceremony by singing the national anthem. The Valedictory address by Bailey Milender followed it.

Lightheartedly she started, “To all of our teachers for preparing us for life after high school we thank you as well, you can’t run if you don’t know how to walk. Or something like that.”

“For the past couple of weeks, I have been in denial that all of this was going to happen. And stupidly I prayed that this day would come fast,” said Milender.

And then it did.

After thanking family, friends, and teachers for their support she concluded, “This class has been my life for the past 12 years and giving that up is going to be and has been hard. It calms me though knowing that we are all going to succeed after this.”

Several Superior graduates were very successful in garnering scholarships and financial support for their continuing education. Starting with Bryan Mask, he won the TrailWest Bank Scholarship for $500, and also the recipient of the Old Schoolhouse Rockers Car Club scholarship in the amount of $300.

Lauren VanCleaf was the recipient of the Edna Jensen Memorial Scholarship for $300, and the Ruby Sullivan Memorial Scholarship sponsored by the Lions Club for $500.

Danner Haskins was awarded the DUI Task Force Scholarship for $250, the Mineral County Conservation District Scholarship for $1,500, the Ruthie Warnken Scholarship for $500, the Matthew Michael Palagi Memorial Scholarship for $500, and was also a recipient of the Old Schoolhouse Rockers Car Club scholarship in the amount of $300.

Bailey Milender was the recipient of the Bruce Fryar Memorial Scholarship for $500, the Ruby Sullivan Memorial Scholarship sponsored by the Lions Club for $500, the Sherry Tourtellete Memorial Scholarship for $1,400, the Mineral County Conservation District Scholarship for $1,500, the Women in Timber Scholarship for $1,000, the Ruth Bernaking Scholarship for $700, the Old Schoolhouse Rockers Car Club scholarship in the amount of $500, the Blackfoot Communications Scholarship for $1,000, the William E. Sears Scholarship for $500, the Maximell Flemming Scholarship for $1,000, the DUI Task Force Scholarship for $750, the Remington Henderson Memorial Scholarship for $250, the Mineral County Community Foundation Scholarship for $1,500, the Montana State University Premiere Scholarship for $1,500, and the Gaylord Green Scholarship for $8,000.

Following the impressive list of scholarship winners, the seniors then presented roses to family members and then listened to the insights of history teacher Colin Bishop one last time.

Bishop is no stranger to delivering words of wisdom, sage advice, and treasured memories over his past 23 years of teaching. In that time, he’s done many commencement speeches.

He shared with his departing students, “I wish all of you wonderful and interesting lives and I want to encourage you to continue building on what you’ve already started. Look where you grew up? Look around our own backyard. I think all of you have wonderful experiences and different skills at this point in your lives…you are all certainly interesting.”

He also added a few words of advice like, “Keep good friends, never say never, be empathetic, keep learning and growing, and that life can be a juggling act.” And lastly Bishop imparted, “Don’t grow up too fast.”

The class motto for this group of young adults was, life will go on. And as the world has discovered in the past year during the pandemic it truly must.

Several graduates are heading off to state universities, some will start apprenticeships or in trade schools, and many others will join the work force in their community or in a new place to call home.

As the 18 graduates tossed their blue and silver caps into the sky, friends, family, and community celebrated around them cheering them onward to their future endeavors.