Written by John Plestina
Sarah Hafner was named valedictorian delivers her message during graduation exercises. (Photos by John Plestina)
Salutatorian Gabrielle Wozniak.
Wolf Point graduate Dylan Warmbrod turns his tassel moments after receiving his diploma.
The Junior/Senior High School Band performs the processional at the beginning of the Wolf Point High School commencement.
Wolf Point High School's newly minted 2014 graduates celebrate at the end of the commencement exercises.
Not every high school grad gets the honor of being the valedictorian and salutatorian at their graduation. Two of the 40 Wolf Point High School seniors who marched in caps and gowns received that honor at the 2014 commencement Sunday, May 25.
Sarah Hafner was named valedictorian, the honor bestowed for the highest academic achievement in a graduating class. She gave what is called the valedictory at some schools; the valedictorian address or farewell statement for her class.
Hafner, the daughter of Bill and Shelly Zahradka, will attend Montana State University at Billings and study pre-nursing.
She reflected on the last year of school, including playing on the Lady Wolves basketball team.
Hafner told the underclassmen to enjoy high school while they can. She also called the senior year experience a roller coaster.
“The roller coaster has stopped and we’re giving our seats to the next in line,” Hafner said.
“High school also gave me an opportunity to learn what being on a team is like,” she said.
The next most prestigious honor went to salutatorian Gabrielle Wozniak, the daughter of Jeff and Loretta Wozniak.
She will attend MSU Bozeman and study mechanical engineering.
Wozniak reminded the 39 other graduates that they were experiencing their last day together as a class.
“We all have our idea of what life after high school will be like,” she said.
“We’re entering the great unknown of adulthood,” Wozniak said.
Cole Grimsrud talked about climbing up when he gave the first honor student address.
He will attend Fort Peck Community College and study welding.
“At some point, everyone will hit rock bottom,” Grimsrud said.
“Look up and pray. That is my challenge to you, Class of 2014, look up,” he said.
Class president Steven Remington also gave an honor student address.
He will attend Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., and study aerospace engineering.
Remington chose humor for his address, using one-liners that included, “The rock of gi-gall-blader,” in place of the Rock of Gibraltar.
“And finally, I’d like to thank the sidewalks for keeping me off the streets,” he said.
The junior/senior high school band performed the processional and recessional.
The WPHS Choir performed 21 Guns and Born To Be Somebody.
The Native American drum and song group Soldier Hill performed the honor song.
The class motto was: “And in the end, it’s not years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years,” a quote from Abraham Lincoln.
Alstroemeria was the class flower.
The graduates are Sonica Archdale, John Benavente, Cole Black Hoop, Mariah Dionne, Llewellyn Eagle Jr., T’Elle Evans, Kymree Flynn, Robert Galaviz, Duane Good Track, Cole Grimsrud, Sarah Hafner, Lucas Hamilton, John Hawk, Lillian Hollow Horn, David Hopson, Devon Hughes-Munden, Tiffanie Irizarry, MyLissa Jackson, Matthew Keiser, Santana Ledeau, Casee Lepper, Maestro Martinez, Damica McConnell, Dougal McMorris, Paul Nygaard, Nathaniel Paine, Marqueese Porras, Garrett Pronto, Steven Remington, Alissa Smith, Tiffany Szymanski, Tukker Toavs, Carry Vandall, RaShane Walking Eagle, Dylan Warmbrod, Trenton Wemmer, Holland West, Kailey Williamson, Gabrielle Wozniak and Dre’An YellowRobe.
WPHS counselor Keri Sansaver announced awards and scholarships, which totaled $295,000, $91,000 from local businesses, organizations and individuals.
She called 15 graduates to the podium. All qualified as juniors for the one-time $1,500 Montana GEAR Up Achievement Grant. They were Archdale, Evans, Flynn, Grimsrud, Hafner, Hughes-Munden, Jackson, Keiser, Lepper, McConnell, Paine, Remington, Smith, Yellowrobe and Vandall.
Seven of those students — Archdale, Evans, Flynn, Lepper, Remington, Smith and Vandall — were awarded the esteemed $22,580 GEAR Up Pathways Scholarship.
Presidential Awards for Academic Excellence went to Evans, Hafner, Hopson, Remington, Smith, Vandall and Wozniak. A 3.5 minimum cumulative grade point average throughout high school and a score in the 85th percentile on a standardized test are required.
All 40 graduates received the Fort Peck Community College Scholarship, a tuition waiver and scholarship worth $1,680. The total was $67,200.
Montana Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Cody Lentz presented a plaque and National Guard scholarship opportunities worth a maximum of $37,000 over four years to Archdale.
Neil Taylor, Fort Peck Tribes education director, presented Fort Peck Tribal Education Department Incentive Awards to tribal members.
The John Kuehne Memorial National Honor Society Scholarship went to Archdale, Evans, Flynn, Grinsrud, Hafner, Hopson, Keiser, Lepper, Remington, Smith, Toavs, Vandall and Wozniak.
Other scholarships included: Evans, Black Hills State University Buzz Bonus Scholarship, Farmers Union Lumber Scholarship, Froid Scholarship, WPHS Booster Club Scholarship, Wolf Point Invitational Scholarship, Wolf Point Lions Club Scholarship; Flynn, Immaculate Conception Church Council of Catholic Women Scholarship; Grimsrud, Montana University System Governor’s Scholarship, Wolf Point Education Association/Jeans Fund Scholarship, Wolf Point Lions Club Scholarship; Hafner, First Annual Amanda Hardy Scholarship, Hole Nursing Endowed Scholarship, MSU Billings Promise Scholarship, Montana University System Honors Scholarship, Robert and Elsie Penner Memorial Scholarship, Western Bank Valedictorian Scholarship, Wolf Point Elks Local and State Scholarships; Lepper, Norval Electric Cooperative Scholarship; Paine, Agland Cooperative Scholarship, First Lutheran Church Kent Johnson Memorial and Melvin Thompson Scholarship, Sheridan Electric Scholarship; WPHS Booster Club Scholarship, Wolf Point Optimist Scholarship, Wolf Point Rods and Rides Scholarship; Remington, Embry Riddle Chancellor’s Scholarship; Smith, Student Assistance Foundation College Goal Montana Scholarship; Toavs, Dickinson State Blue Hawk Athletic Scholarship, Immaculate Conception Church Knights of Columbus Scholarship, Wolf Point Invitational Scholarship, Wolf Point Walleyes Unlimited Scholarship; Wozniak, First Community Bank Salutatorian Scholarship, MSU Premier Scholarship.
Hafner, McMorris and Remington received the ACT Outstanding Academic Performance Certificate from the Montana Office of Public Instruction for earning a composite score of 27 or higher on the ACT (American College test).