Tears and all, graduation comes off without a hitch

Monday, May 15, 2017
McCook High School seniors finish their K-12 career.
Lorri Sughroue/McCook Gazette

McCOOK, Neb. The 2017 McCook High School graduation proceeded without a hitch Sunday, as 121 seniors officially ended their 12 years of primary education.

"It went very well. We had a great group of kids, actually a fairly large senior class and it was a beautiful facility to have the graduation," said MHS principal Jeff Gross. Held in the Peter and Delores Graff Events Center, Gross gave a shout-out to his staff and support staff who helped with the ceremony, as well as to Darrin and Jennifer Morgan who helped stage the event.

Gross finished his first year as MHS principal and emceed the commencement, but he's still a parent first. He said he held it together fairly well when his daughter received her diploma but "I got teared up when she walked out. I told myself, I can't do this," he admitted. "Luckily I got it all out at church that morning."

Students who earned straight As in their high school career, taking advanced classes, were Luke Moorhous and Katherine Kjendal.
Lorri Sughroue/McCook Gazette

Two students recognized at commencement who earned straight A's in their entire high school careers, with perfect 4.0 grades and taking advanced classes, were Katherine Kjendal and Luke Moorhous. Presenting the award were Shelly Sehnert and Robin Henrichs, teachers at MHS and members of the Faculty Leadership Council at MHS.

Three students were awarded the Bison Award, Easton Gillen for the boys and a tie for the girls, Lexi Gross and Allison Tolliver.

The award is presented to a male and female that best exemplifies the traits of school citizenship, loyalty, service and the ability to promote a positive rapport within the school setting. All students graduating with distinction were eligible. The staff at MHS voted and narrowed it down to six candidates, from which the senior class voted.

The Bison awards, typically given to one boy and one girl in the senior class, had a tie this year between the girls. Selected by their fellow seniors, winners this year were Lexi Gross, from left, Easton Gillen for the boys and Allison Tolliver.
Lorri Sughroue/McCook Gazette

Student speakers were Brenna Erdman, Tim Brinamen, Lindi Johnson, Katie Kjendal and Thatcher Skolout.

Receiving a thunderous round of applause and whistles from his classmates was Ben Bradley, who was in a serious car accident in March yet crossed the stage Sunday to receive his diploma with the rest of his class.

Class officers are Lauren Koetter, president, Josiah Hegwood, vice president, Shannon Wiemers, secretary and Bryceton Trew, treasurer.

Superintendent Grant Norgaard opening the event.

Diplomas were presented by the McCook Board of Education: Tom Bredvick, Teresa Thomas, Loretta Hauxwell, Brian Esch and Brad Hays. Board member Bob Elder was out of town and not present for the ceremony.

Performing "For Good," from the musical, "Wicked," was the high school choir under the direction of choir director, Abby McNutt.

The class motto chosen by the seniors was "Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory," by Dr. Suess. Class flower was the red rose. Class song was "You're Gonna Miss This," by Trace Adkins.

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