Douglas graduates future looks bright
MINDEN — The 2002 graduating class of Douglas High School is like the cast of a popular science fiction movie.
Or at least class speaker Josh Reinhardt thought so.
“This is only the beginning,” Reinhardt said. “It’s like Episode 1 in the Star Wars Trilogy. We’re all Anakin Skywalkers, and we’re all given the chance to become something bigger.”
He paused and smiled.
“Like Jedi Knights,” he said.
While this year’s graduating class may not have the powers of the force, school officials agreed that they do have the potential to succeed.
Douglas County School superintendent John Soderman, said this year’s class has had the greatest number of students stay in school and make it to graduation.
The class also scored the highest ACT and SAT scores in 10 years. And the students have received $700,000 in scholarships, not including the state’s Millennium Scholarship.
Douglas High’s football field was packed Saturday morning for the ceremony. Family members and friends jammed into the bleachers and sprawled across the grass to watch the 416 graduates accept their diplomas.
Dressed for summer, complete with sunglasses and flower leis, the graduates proudly accepted their diplomas.
Melanie Davis, valedictorian, was the first student speaker.
“Now that we’ve reached this goal, we must choose our path,” she said. She encouraged the graduates to follow their dreams and complimented them on being such a unique class.
Davis, along with valedictorians Jennifer Alexander and Gian Brehm, received a perfect GPA of 4.0 their entire high school career.
Salutatorians, Andrea Honer and Selena Valenti, received 47 A’s out of a possible 48 grades.
Douglas High Principal Charles Condron said he would miss the class of 2002.
“Will we ever have such an outstanding class as the class of 2002?” he asked the crowd.
Just as Condron said he would miss his students, some of the graduates also agreed they would miss Douglas High.
“I’m going to miss the people,” said graduate Katie Blake.”But I’m ready to move on. It feels very refreshing.”
Another graduate, Becci Nealy, said she was going to miss everything about high school, even the homework.
“It’s scary, but exciting,” she said.
Other graduates were just happy to be finished with high school.
“I’ve been waiting for this day for a long, long time,” said graduating senior Brian Lopeman.
Another graduate, Ashley Flom, agreed.
“It feels really awesome,” she said. “I finally made it.”
Besides speaking of memories from the past three years at Douglas High, many students spoke about the national and international events they had witnessed in their high school years.
Student Body President, Peter Steele, spoke of the Sept. 11 attack.
“We will all remember where we were nine months ago when we saw footage of planes smash into our buildings,” Steele said.
Class speaker Brittany Keele explained that the class motto also had to do with the attack.
“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them and yet … go out to meet it,” she said.
The origin of that motto came from a television special, and was used to describe the courage of the people aboard Flight 93, she said.
Keele said the class of 2002 wanted to take the attitude of “Let’s roll.”
And that is the what the class did as they tossed their caps into the sunny sky and began their future.