In front of a capacity gym of friends, family and well-wishers, more than 360 Juneau-Douglas High School seniors graduated Sunday in the school's 101st annual commencement ceremony.
Interim principal John Norman offered some perspective in his 10-minute commencement address.
"You can stop worrying about mom and dad," he said. "They will be a lot smarter by the time you get to be 25. And interestingly enough, you may not feel quite as smart as you do now when you are 25."
The Class of 205 entered the gym to the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance," courtesy of the high school orchestra.
JDHS teacher and boys soccer coach Gary Lehnhart welcomed the crowd with a series of malapropisms, written by the class of 2005 while they were in elementary school.
"Smoking kills," read one. "If you're killed, you've lost a pretty important part of your life."
"A man should have only one wife," read another. "This is called monotony."
Lehnhart concluded by urging the students to thank their parents.
"I would like to remember how much this day also belongs to them," he said. " ... You are a baby lying in your diaper, your legs high in the air. You're proud of yourself, you're cooing, because you've achieved and given them a soiled diaper. Your parents have seen your worst; go show them your best."
Mary Rehfeld, the three-point specialist on the Crimson Bears' state champion girls' basketball teams, was the first student speaker.
"When you're here as often as I am, it begins to feel like home," Rehfeld said, before slipping off her gown to reveal her #21 basketball jersey and taking a pass from the front row. She went on to salute the state champion girls' softball team, the act of charitable service and the many educators who helped the Class of 2005 along the way.
"I sincerely believe that each of us that walks out of this gym today realizes what you have given us," she said.
Sophie Lager urged her class not to get lost in the pressures of the world after high school.
"Never forget to play," she said, before donning a red clown nose.
Norman thanked the class for allowing him to speak. He's stepping down from his one-year gig as interim principal, the latest stop in his 41-year career.
"We're all stories to be written," he said, "and I can tell that there are some wonderful stories told here today and throughout your lives."
Senior class advisors Linda Dapcevich and Carol Pratt recognized seven graduates who finished with a 4.0 grade point average, and 56 who ended with 3.5 or better.
Korry Keeker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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