Pocahontas Area High School: ‘We are going to grab the bull by the horns and make our impact’

53 seniors graduate

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari Pocahontas Area High School graduates Haley Beekman, left, and Hailey Ferguson hug each other following Sunday’s graduation ceremony.

POCAHONTAS — When someone thinks of a high school graduation, it’s likely a quote from “Hannah Montana” is not the first thing that comes to mind.

But Jill Vonnahme was able to incorporate a quote from the hit Disney Channel TV show into her speech during the Pocahontas Area High School graduation Sunday.

Vonnahme was one of two students selected to speak at the ceremony, which saw 53 seniors graduate.

She incorporated the quote into some advice she gave her fellow graduates. The quote itself was actually suggested by another graduate.

“You can change your hair and you can change your clothes,” Vonnahme said, reciting the line from the show. “You can change your mind, that’s just the way it goes. You can say ‘goodbye’ and you can say ‘hello,’ but you’ll always find your way back home.”

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari Pocahontas Area High School graduate Taylor Johnson holds her boyfriend’s cousin, Emma Christians, 3, following the graduation ceremony Sunday.

“Although we have decided we aren’t the closest class in history, we have had moments where we have come together for the better, like at homecoming games when we showed the underclassmen our dominance,” Vonnahme said. “And for the worse. You all know what biology test I’m referring to.”

But in the end, she said the class worked together to graduate.

“As a class, we have survived high school,” Vonnahme said. “All the days we threatened our teachers and parents that we were going to drop out are over. All the mornings we didn’t want to get up and go to school are over. We have survived. Congratulations.”

Other advice she offered her classmates included following their dreams, remembering where they came from, and being true to oneself.

“What makes our class special are all the different personalities within it,” she said. “As you go into the world, remember who you are and that who you are is good enough.”

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari Pocahontas Area High School math teacher Katie Wilford, left, smiles as graduate Jocelyn Johnson waits to enter the gym during the processional.

Dawson Fischer, the other student who spoke at the ceremony, agreed that everybody in the class has a unique personality.

In fact, that was what made writing his speech difficult, “mostly because there are no specific words or phrases to describe the class of 2018.”

“This class is a combination of every personality type, and can be described in many ways,” Fischer said. “Over the top. Reserved. Outspoken. And yes, of course, crazy.”

He added this makes the class of 2018 unique.

“Our class is a very diverse mix of individuals who come from every walk of life,” he said.

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari Jacob Nath, left, holds the hand of his brother, Noah Nath, 4, before the elder Nath headed into the gym at Pocahontas Area High School to graduate.

Fischer highlighted the four years of high school, from learning how to take care of an electronic baby during freshman year, to getting comfortable with who they were sophomore year, to meeting new students when PAC began grade-sharing with the Laurens-Marathon Community School District junior year, to finally being “big wigs” during their senior year.

“As one chapter of our lives comes to an end today, another one is just beginning,” Fischer said. “Just as we come from all walks of life, our class will be going into all walks of life.”

“We are going to grab the bull by the horns and make our impact.”

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari Elizabeth Ricke not only graduated from Pocahontas Area High School Sunday, but she also performed with the high school’s band during the ceremony.

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari Alex Bergen, left, Gunnar Arends and Bradley Butler all pose for a photo after the Pocahontas Area High School graduation ceremony Sunday.