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Laker High grads commended, encouraged

By Staff | May 24, 2008

Logan Schuder, Kayleen Baldwin, Chelsea Helmick, Brandon Cooklin, and Alex Taylor were the Laker High School graduates honored in commencement ceremonies Friday at Iowa Lakes Community College. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

“Your skill, your motivation, your ability are oftentimes more difficult than in traditional high school,” Iowa Lakes Community College President Dr. Harold Prior told Laker High School graduates Friday.

As the five graduates listened, Dr. Prior and others commended their efforts so far but encouraged them to not stop now but to forge ahead with new endeavors.

Prior also thanked parents, friends, and relatives for supporting the graduates. Then he turned to the departing students in the front row.

“The focus is on you today. The focus is on recognizing what you’ve achieved,” Prior said.

He then encouraged students not to stop now but to enroll at Iowa Lakes and get a degree.

“Really think long and hard about what you want to achieve,” Prior said, noting that with a college degree, people earn 18 percent more in their lifetimes than without one.

When it was the graduates’ turn to speak, they revealed their future plans:

n Kayleen Baldwin — Wants to attend Iowa Lakes and to become a teacher.

n Brandon Cooklin — Wants to enroll in the wind turbine program at Iowa Lakes.

n Chelsea Helmick — Plans to enroll at Iowa Lakes second semester.

n Logan Schuder — Is working full-time at Electrimold and wants to study photography and Greek history, starting at Iowa Lakes.

n Alex Taylor — Plans to attend Iowa Lakes to study criminal justice.

Other graduates listed on the program but not at the ceremony were Samantha Forsyth and Cynthia Martinez.

Trish Morfitt, representing the Iowa Lakes Foundation, presented $500 scholarships to each of the graduates.

Laker High School teacher Barb Schacherer was first of their former teachers to congratulate them.

“You’ve opened up hundreds of more doors than were open to you before,” Schacherer said, offering some wise quotations.

“We are the painters of our own self-portraits,” said Schacherer. “Action speaks louder than words. Learning is a lifelong process and so is your self-portrait.”

“This is now a time of transition for you,” said teacher Lynne Gould. “Sometimes change brings rough times.”

Gould discouraged graduates from “looking back when they’re going forward” except when they wanted to either learn from their mistakes or to teach others.

“No matter what age you are you always have transitions to go through,” Gould said. “Avoid looking back and keeping your past mistakes from holding you back. But you can learn from past mistakes and teach others.”

“Don’t look back. You’re not going that way,” Gould said, encouraging students to press on toward the future.

Bill Leupold, lead instructor, told students he hoped they had learned self-value, dignity, and that they have a dream. “A big, life-altering, earth-shaking dream,” Leupold said.