Miller: It was nothing like ‘High School Musical’

SE Valley class reflects on their journey together

-Messenger photo by Kriss Nelson
Payton Erritt helps get Kyler Fisher ready for graduation. Both Erritt and Fisher graduated from Southeast Valley in Gowrie on Sunday.

GOWRIE — For 2019 Southeast Valley graduate Bailey Miller, her experiences in high school weren’t those depicted on the big screen.

“After four years I can finally say, without a doubt, that high school was nothing like ‘High School Musical,'” she said during her speech given at the Southeast Valley graduation on Sunday. “But that’s OK. Did we really want people dancing on tables in the middle of lunch? Or breaking out in song in the middle of the basketball court?”

For Miller, high school has been an up and down road of emotions, accomplishments and struggles — all of which she feels has helped prepare herself and her class for the next step.

“I have spent a lot of time reflecting on our journey in this school,” she said. “Our class are high achievers. We set our goals high and we don’t stop until we reach them – whether that be in athletics, music, drama or academics. We don’t settle for average and we are going on to do amazing things.”

Miller remembers last year’s seniors telling her to enjoy her senior year, because it goes by so fast.

-Messenger photo by Kriss Nelson
Sam Hemmestad snaps a photo of, left to right, Emi Schlief, Keri Fiala and Maggie Bacon before graduation ceremonies at Southeast Valley High School in Gowrie on Sunday.

“I feel like our class really did take their advice and we have made the most out of our last nine months,” she said. “We laughed together and we most definitely cried together.”

Miller reminded her classmates, wherever they go after high school, they are not alone.

“As we all move on to college, the military or the workforce, it is about to get a little scary, but we can all take a breath and remember we are all in this together and even if we aren’t side by side at school, we can count on each other to get through,” she said. “Thank you Southeast Valley for bringing this class together and preparing us for the next chapter in our lives.”

Eva Haub also had the opportunity to get up on stage during her high school graduation. To be selected as a Southeast Valley class speaker during graduation, a student must submit their speech.

“I love writing and I love speaking, so I turned the speech in just hoping I would be able to speak directly to the audience and to my classmates,” she said.

-Messenger photo by Kriss Nelson
Dusty Dorothy checks his phone while waiting for a class picture to be taken prior to graduation ceremonies at Southeast Valley High School in Gowrie in Sunday.

Haub titled her speech “Our Journey.” She reflected upon the last four years of high school and how every year has contained different lessons.

“Our journey through the past four years at times were amazing, at others, terrible,” she said. “But every second has been worth it.”

Sharing the highlights as well as some lowlights of each year of high school at Southeast Valley included being the new freshman kids at a new school, research papers, finally becoming upper classman their junior year and all of the “first lasts” they experienced their senior year.

“Four years ago we started a journey we thought would last forever, but nothing lasts forever,” she said. “Our time in this building has been four years of constant stress, joy, drama, happiness, anxiety and excitement.”

Every year, Haub said it has been them having to say goodbye to a graduating senior class.

-Messenger photo by Kriss Nelson
Southeast Valley graduates exit the gym on Sunday after being awarded their diploma.

“But now, we are the ones that are moving on,” she said. “To believe how much we have changed since this journey began, but the moment has finally come and it is our turn to say goodbye. Goodbye to Southeast Valley, goodbye to friends, goodbye to teachers, goodbye to making high school memories together. Even though it is time to move on to new adventures, we don’t have to forget what we have been through.”

Members of the senior choir serenaded their fellow classmates with their rendition of “Calling my Children Home” by Joseph H. Jennings, while the Southeast Valley band lightened things up with their performance of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.”

Of the 94 graduating students from Southeast Valley, nearly half were recognized during the ceremony for their academic excellence during their high school career.

“We have a bunch of great kids and we are really excited for them to get out into their future endeavors and we know they will be productive in whatever they do and we are really proud of all of them,” said Brian Johnson, Prairie Valley/Southeast Webster-Grand superintendent.