SCOTTSBLUFF — With a calm wind and clear skies, 172 seniors graduated from Scottsbluff High School on Sunday.
Seventy-six seniors received at least one scholarship to continue their education while many received multiple awards.
“This class has award-winning artists and excel in things out of school like motorcross and trapshooting,” SHS Principal Mike Halley said.
Of the students who graduated, seven scored 30 or better on their ACT exam. The class of 2019 includes multiple seniors who excel at the state and national level in a variety of areas from academics to sports. Thirty-six of those students received professional certifications before graduating.
After seniors received their diplomas, the traveled down the receiving line of teachers for handshakes and hugs, for offers of gratitude and joy.
Senior Ian Papenfus is headed to Chadron State College next semester and is looking forward to it.
“It’s (high school) over and a chapter closed, but now is time to open a new one,” Papenfus said.
Senior Avita Night Walker said it felt great to graduate from high school, but she already has her eyes set on the future. She plans to be remain in town and pursue a career in nursing.
Halley spoke about the resiliency the class, especially that of several students who lost a parent before graduating. When it happens before you graduate high school, it’s a tough thing, Halley said.
“It makes you feel like completing high school is an uphill battler,” he said.
Halley praised the students for persevering and for the supports in school and out that helped those students achieve their diplomas.
“These students likely wouldn’t be here today without solid support behind them,” Halley said.
Halley said 150 students, or 87 percent, already have college credit. One senior Blake Greckel has already received his associate’s degree from WNCC in business administration. Another 62 seniors, or 36% of the graduating class, have taken at least one advanced placement class and 11 students graduated with a 4.0, earning a suma cum laude. Another four students graduated magna cum laude and 11 students graduated cum laude. There were eight students who have made commitments to enlist the military.