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Final cast call: Class of 2018 ready for next stage

James Claflin was one of four student speakers to address the Hastings High School class of 2018 during Friday's commencement ceremony at the high school gymnasium. Joe Brown / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 5
With diploma in hand, Bridget Anderson moves her tassel to the other side of her cap during the Hastings High School commencement ceremony Friday at the high school gymnasium. Joe Brown / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 5
After crossing the stage, Darnell Davis is all smiles with his Hastings High School diploma in hand during Friday's commencement ceremony at the high school gymnasium. Joe Brown / RiverTown Multimedia 3 / 5
Six Hastings High School graduates (from right) Arthur DressenWall, Bailey Fluegel, Grace Griffith, John Rupp, Leah Steding and Rachel Weber graduated with highest honors with a 4.0 GPA over four years. Joe Brown / RiverTown Multimedia 4 / 5
Shae Archambault welcomes the audience and the Hastings High School class of 2018 to open Friday's commencement ceremony at the high school gymnasium. Joe Brown / RiverTown Multimedia 5 / 5

Editor's note: The Gazette's 2018 graduation photos are available to purchase here

Standing in front of 341 of her peers, Shae Archambault opened Hastings High School commencement with a bit of perspective.

“It’s crazy to think that four years ago was the last time we were all together. You heard that right,” Archambault told classmates, family and friends in the gymnasium. “Before that, the last time our entire grade was all in one room was freshman orientation.”

Friday was the last time the class of 2018 was together, reflecting on students’ time before joining the real world.

Principal Michael Johnson and the Hastings School Board honored the six students who graduated with 4.0 grade-point averages: Arthur DressenWall, Bailey Fluegel, Grace Griffith, John Rupp, Leah Steding and Rachel Weber. There were also 23 students graduating with high honors (3.935 or better) and 14 graduating with honors (3.867 or better).

Three student speakers took center stage before the awarding of diplomas. James Claflin reminisced over freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years with a song in mind.

“Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away,” Claflin stated, reading the lyrics to “Yesterday” by The Beatles. “This resonates with us as we sit here tonight and say our goodbyes. Whether it’s the teachers that helped us when we really needed it. Our families as we move away to college. Or especially our fellow graduates as we go our separate ways.”

Hayen Schutt said Hastings High School, at times, was part sitcom and part soap opera.

“Tonight, right here, right now, this moment is our series finale,” Schutt said. “Tonight is the last time the cast will be all together. … Tonight marks the end of an era for us.”

Joe Zak, the class vice president, closed out the student speeches with a tale of a builder, urging his classmates to put their heart and soul into whatever comes their way.

“Today, we all have a solid foundation to our house: A high-school diploma,” Zak said. “WIth this foundation, we have an opportunity to build whatever we want. … Wherever you choose to go, I ask you to go with the utmost courage, effort and passion.”

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