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Northfield seniors receive diplomas at 59th commencement

By Mandy Mahan

Northfield High School 2021 Seniors officially ended their high school careers on Sunday, June 6 ,at the 59th NHS Commencement ceremony.

After the graduates entered the gymnasium, played on by the NHS Band playing Pomp and Circumstance, they, along with the gathered crowd of family and friends watched a slideshow made by Emma Brainard, showcasing each senior with a childhood photo and a senior photo, as well as group photos from the last year of friend groups, proms, sports and clubs.

Jenna Krom then welcomed the crowd to the ceremony.

The NHS A Capella Choir, directed by Lindsay Knee, performed “Fly Away Home,” a piece by Douglas Wagner.

Lyndsey Carter, this year’s valedictorian addressed the crowd next with a series of “Lyndsey’s Life Lessons,” in which she shared some lessons she had learned throughout her life in an effort to inspire and encourage her fellow graduates as they go on into the next phases of their lives.

The lessons she shared were that failure is part of success, to stay true to who you are, always be kind, and that it is important to have someone in your life that challenges and inspires you.

“I have heard before that failure is necessary sometimes to create success,” she said. “It builds us up and teaches us a lesson to become stronger and better than we were before. Although I always tried to remember the importance of this advice, I still did not like failing, and I would do everything in my power to make sure that it would not happen. Failure is not something we dream of. But sometimes failure cannot be stopped and it’s an inevitable part of all of our journeys.”

She shared that her older sister has always been an inspiration to her, and thanked her.

“She not only encouraged me, she inspired me to be better when I didn’t always want to be.  I think we all have that “person” that challenges, encourages and ultimately lifts us up when we need it.”

Carter ended her speech by congratulating her fellow grads and wishing them the best.

Salutatorian, Elise Gottschalk spoke next, taking her classmates and the audience back on the journey that it took to get to where they are now.

She shared about the many challenges and changes the class faced, claiming that those challenges made the Class of 2021 the best class to graduate from NHS.

She recalled being the first class required to do full days of kindergarten, the reconfiguration of the MSD elementary schools, the first class required to take the I-READ standardized test, and dealing with COVID their junior and senior years. 

Gottschalk also shared how those experiences took everyone out of their comfort zones, and that because of those challenges, they are who they are today.

“Think about how different our world would look if people were too scared to make that step out of their comfort zone, based on how someone else portrays it,” she said. “What if nobody ever went to school to be a surgeon because everyone says the schooling is just too hard? What if nobody went into the military because everyone says it’s too much hard work? The future might seem pretty scary in life, but I guarantee it is not as bad as it looks… when you look outside your comfort zone, and think it looks too daunting, remind yourself that things are not as bad as they seem.”

Gottschalk ended her speech with sentiment about her faith in God.

“Psalm 18:32 says, ‘It is God who equips me with strength, and he makes my way perfect.’”

In other words, God does not call us to do things we cannot handle. So, my last piece of advice to you is when you get anxious outside of your comfort zone thinking about the trials before you, look to God for the comfort you desire and the peace you deserve.”

Following Gottschalk was Clay Herring who shared a speech about growth, referencing the symbolism of trees.

The graduates then crossed the stage as they received their diplomas, and flipped their tassels together to the other side of their caps, signifying their official graduation.

Emma Brainard gave closing remarks. She held back tears as she bid farewell to her classmates, teachers, and school one last time. 

Posted on 2021 Jun 08