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Graduation speakers are Jordan Engel, Brandon Sieh, Trent Tejeda and Kate Curtis

These 2014 Hastings High School graduates, Trent Tejeda, seated, and Kate Curtis, Jordan Engel and Brandon Sieh, will speak to their fellow graduates, families and friends Friday night. Photo by Jane Lightbourn

The graduation speakers for this year’s June 6 Hastings High School commencement are among the 360 graduates this year – Jordan Engel, Brandon Sieh, Trent Tejeda and Kate Curtis.

Engel and Curtis both said that listening to one of last year’s graduation speakers, Nicole Hollar, impacted them enough to strongly consider auditioning. They prepared speeches, then presented them in front of judges during the first part of May.

“I saw Nicole’s speech last year and it stuck with me and impacted me,” Engel said.

Curtis’ grandmother said she dreamed about her giving a speech recently.

”What makes it even more sentimental … is that her birthday is the day of our commencement,” Curtis said.

Sieh was encouraged by his parents to be a grad speaker. They had talked about attending commencement ceremonies at which the speakers talked at length and had little connection to the graduates.

“I thought it would be a cool way to close the year on this note,” he said.

Hastings High School public speaking teacher David Larson asked Tejeda to consider the auditions.

Engel will welcome the graduates, their families and friends to the ceremony.

She wrote her speech the day before the auditions. She said she had big ideas, but then chose a theme. It will focus on “who will we be,” she said. She touches upon different events activities and themes from kindergarten to high school.

Curtis chose to write about the beauty of life. Her dad helps her to shape her ideas, she said.

With certain key aspects including self-confidence, value and family, there is “no bridge you can’t cross,” said Tejeda.

“My main idea is to appreciate the moment and be happy, but also you are more than the moments,” said Sieh.

All agree that it is appropriate that the graduates are giving the speech June 6.

Engel is the daughter of Kevin and Jen Engel. She has a brother, Tyler, who will enter high school this fall. During high school she has been active in Student Council Link Crew, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and was co-president of Spanish Honor Society. She is employed at the Dairy Queen. She is a junior leader for YoungLife and is a youth ministry intern at the United Methodist Church. This fall she will attend Bethel University in Arden Hills to study missional ministries and psychology.

Sieh is the son of James and Miranda Sieh and has two sisters, Anika and Kari. At Hastings he participated in concertino orchestra, track and field, cross country, Science Club and 4H. He will attend South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City where he plans to major in metallurgical engineering. He then plans to pursue an advance degree in material engineering. When schooling is completed, Sieh hopes to find work in engineering on the West Coast and start a vineyard.

Tejeda is the son of Mike and Denise Langenfeld. He has an older sister, Katrinda. During high school, he enjoyed playing basketball at Wilson Park, running on the Mississippi River trail and studying music in his free time. Music will continue to play a larger role as he attends Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Curtis is the daughter of Paul and Kari Curtis. She has a sister Johanna, who attends the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and two brothers, Peter and Patrick. She has been active in track, cross country, Link Crew, and was a student at Jan’s School of Dance for seven years. She is employed at the Dairy Queen. This fall she will attend the University of North Dakota to study dietetics.