Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat

Humboldt celebrates Class of 2019 and one classmate who could not be there

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Hudson Gargano, a Humboldt High School graduate, gives a thumbs up in mid-air Sunday afternoon after commencement at the high school.

HUMBOLDT — Ashlyn Clark was on the hearts and minds of students and staff at Humboldt High School Sunday afternoon.

Clark is a 2019 Humboldt High School graduate. But she was unable to attend commencement, which was held in the high school gym.

Clark was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma on May 7. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy.

“She’s my inspiration,” Kyah Arnold prior to commencement. “She’s so strong.”

Arnold described Clark as her best friend.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Humboldt High School graduates toss their caps after graduating Sunday afternoon.

The two also play softball together.

All 91 graduates who walked the stage to receive their high school diploma were wearing blue bracelets in support of Clark.

Carter Holm was one of the class speakers. During his speech, he offered his support for Clark and her family.

“To the friends and family of Ashlyn Clark — the class of 2019, from the wristbands we wear today, from the bottom of our hearts, we continue to pray for you, fundraise for you, and help in any way, shape or form we can,” Holm said. “Because what I’ve learned is that a family never forgets their own family. Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.”

Lori Westhoff, principal of Humboldt High School, added, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Elizabeth Hildreth, a Humboldt High School graduate, left, poses with a blue rose alongside her sister, Olivia Hildreth, after commencement at the high school Sunday afternoon.

Holm plans to attend Drake University to enter the pre-law program and minor in music.

Sawyer Savery was the other class speaker.

He said even though high school has helped shape who students are, it’s not too late to improve.

“We have only just turned a small chapter in our book,” Savery said. “We have made many memories and lots of friends.”

He asked the class, “Were you a person that people looked up to or a person people avoided?”

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Kyah Arnold, a Humboldt High School graduate, looks at the bracelet she was wearing in support of her classmate Ashlyn Clark. Clark is a class of 2019 graduate, but she was unable to attend commencement Sunday afternoon. Clark has stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma and is undergoing chemotherapy. Arnold said Clark is her best friend. The two also play softball together.

“Answer that question truthfully, and if you don’t like the answer, seek to change,” Savery said. “Just because high school has started to define you, doesn’t mean that’s who you have to be. This chapter is closing, but it’s up to you to continue the book you are writing or start fresh on a new page.”

He added, “Do your best wherever you go next.”

Savery plans to attend Iowa State University and major in aerospace engineering. Upon graduation, he will be an enlisted officer for the U.S. Air Force.

The class valedictorians, each with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, were Kelly Boleyn, Calvin Carlson, and Isabella Luu.

The salutatorian, with a 3.987 grade-point average, was Yureni Carvajal.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Rachel Copper, a Humboldt High School graduate, is all smiles during the Humboldt High School Commencement Sunday afternoon.

Calvin Carlson, Arielle Naeve, and Madeleine Ruzicka, were recognized for contributing at least 100 hours of community service during each of their four years at the school.

Isabella Luu and Carter Holm received the Marvyl Friesth Award as the top girl and boy in the class.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Kevin Struecker, a Humboldt High School graduate, removes his cap from the plastic packaging Sunday afternoon, about 30 minutes before commencement. Struecker said he’s a “last-minute kind of guy.”

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Owen Terwilliger, a Humboldt High School graduate, enters the Humboldt High School gymnasium for commencement Sunday afternoon.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Madeleine Ruzicka, a Humboldt High School graduate, smiles after being honored for academic excellence during commencement at Humboldt High School Sunday afternoon.