SHS graduates Class of 2023
Last updated 6/20/2023 at 11:39am
The 90 Sisters High School seniors who received diplomas at Friday's 75th commencement had plenty to celebrate as they moved from students to alumni. There was little sign and barely a mention of the pandemic that disrupted nearly half of their four-year journey, but challenges of those years are undeniable.
Rather than dwelling on the difficulties, this resilient bunch focused on the positive, as evidenced by the speeches and songs shared by the graduates.
After the graduates marched in single file to "Pomp and Circumstance," the crowd stood for the high school jazz choir's moving version of the national anthem, followed by welcoming remarks from principal Steve Stancliff.
Stancliff spoke about how at a leadership retreat in August, students came up with a motto for the year, "Slay the day the Outlaw way."
"We probably have as many takes on what it might mean to 'slay the day' as we have graduates here tonight, so I will focus on what I have observed to be the 'Outlaw Way'", he said.
Stancliff identified the common thread of meaning for the "Outlaw Way" is connecting with one another and the school staff.
"The life-affirming value in virtually all of your pursuits have been the human connections and relationships you have built," he said.
Sidney Linn, the president of the Associated Student Government, took the microphone next and underlined the theme of connection.
"As we look back over our high school journey, we recognize the obstacles we have overcome and the moments we have missed, but we are determined to seize opportunities and eagerly anticipate what lies ahead," she said. "I think of all the connections around me. We weave a vibrant tapestry that defines our extraordinary town and school community. We are the class of 2023 and we have left an unforgettable stitch in the patchwork and community of Sisters High."
As a tradition, members of the graduating class perform a musical number. The quartet of Matthew Riehle on guitar, Norma Quero on keyboard, Dominic Martinez on percussion and Allison Ilmberger on vocals wowed the crowd with Miley Cyrus's "The Climb" that brought a standing ovation from the crowd.
Next up, valedictorians, and friends, Zoey Lorusso and Sage Wyland paired up for their address to the crowd as the top academic students in the class in which they focused on the concept of happiness.
"We are always waiting for this 'experience' or this 'aha moment', but happiness is already here in the small things: a morning cup of coffee, in the sound of your mother's voice on the phone," said Lorusso. "I think real happiness, true happiness is knowing you have purpose, believing that you are meant to be here."
A video showing then-and-now photos of the graduates as babies and present day produced laughter and a few tears, which lead up to the moment everyone was waiting for - the delivery of diplomas.
Superintendent Curt Scholl and school board chairman Dr. David Thorsett greeted each grad at center stage and before long it was time for senior class president Anna Landon to present the graduating class of 2023.