The graduation ceremony for the Class of 2017 is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Friday, June 2 at the Kennedy Secondary School’s Gold Gym. The Fergus Falls Public Schools will honor the graduates from our three high schools — Fergus Falls High School housed at Kennedy Secondary School, Area Learning Center located at Roosevelt Education Center, and iQ Academy, our online school. Each graduate will receive a Fergus Falls Public Schools’ diploma.

What is a diploma? It is a certificate awarded by an educational establishment to show that someone has successfully completed a course of study. It certainly is that and to me, the diploma earned by our seniors is the first and most important key to access their future.  This key is special because it opens doors to their choice of college, work or military.  It is special because it is earned by each student and cannot be taken away. Congratulations to the Class of 2017 — you’ve earned it!

Graduation Highlights

The graduation ceremony is a formal event that will feature the band, choir and orchestra playing final pieces with the seniors.  Maddison Rocholl, Ryan Plaza and Taylor Watkins are the featured senior speakers. School Board Chair Melanie Cole, Principal Monke, and I will have brief comments, as well.

At this year’s graduation ceremony, the Class of  2017 will honor retiring teachers. The group of 14 retirees is the largest in memory for Fergus Falls Public Schools. Congratulations to the following retirees – behind each name is the years of teaching at the Fergus Falls Public Schools, a total of 417 years!!

Dawn Ackley, 29 years; Barb Bergem, 47 years; Kathy Bjork, 15 years;

Angel Bremseth, 33 years; Jane Cavanaugh-Holmes, 39 years;

Vicki Hanneman, 31 years; Loni Jacobson, 33 years; Dawn Koennicke,

24 years; Mary Link, 31 years; Chris Moen, 34 years; Lynn Ouren, 31 years;

Mary Jo Schulz, 5 years; Doug Sperling, 28 years; and Barb Zempel, 37 years.

Band Awards

Congratulations to our high school students for receiving the following band awards: Louie Armstrong Jazz Award – Jennifer Kaminski-Horak; John Philip Sousa Award – Jennifer Kaminski-Horak and Evan Aanerud. And, congratulations to our Middle School students: 7th Grade Loren Blume Outstanding Band Student awarded to Carson Oliphant; and 8th Grade Al Jacobs Outstanding Band Student awarded to Ryan Aanerud.

Blondeau Fine

Arts Festival

The Blondeau Fine Arts Festival, held Thursday, May 25, was a great night of performances and exhibits! Great speeches, music performances, fashion show, viewing of the artwork and wonderful treats provided by Service Food and SunMart. Thanks to all who helped in so many ways. One of our judges and area artists, Naomi Schliesman commented,

“Very talented group of artists. I am excited to see what these emerging artists will do in the future. Their artwork has inspired me. It was very difficult to judge so many great pieces. Amazing job by all the students. Thank you to such wonderful teachers who care!”

The 2017 Blondeau Fine Arts Festival winners include: Best Of Show – Sculpture Category: DeAnna Hurley – Smaug; Mixed Mediums Category: Andrew Balken – Dreams of Grandeaur; Photography Category: Morgan Sikkink – CAM!; Ceramics Category: David Wallington – Japanese Ash; Painting Category: Anna Norgard – Through the Eyes of a Child; and Drawing Category: Amanda Johnson – Piano Man.

This is my last column until fall – enjoy the summer – Go Otters!!

Jerry Ness is the superintendent of Fergus Falls Public Schools. His column appears every Wednesday.

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