Eighth Graders Celebrate Graduation - and Look Forward to Bright Futures in High School

posted on May 31, 2013

With all the challenges and accomplishments of elementary school behind them, Red Cloud and Our Lady of Lourdes eighth graders celebrated moving on to high school this week.   A mass and ceremony on each campus honored their hard work as young students—and offered messages of hope and determination to guide them through the next phase of their education.

At Our Lady of Lourdes, students, families and friends gathered at Christ the King Church to offer thanks for their education and to recognize this significant milestone.  In his homily, Fr. Peter Klink, chaplain at Our Lady of Lourdes and pastor at Christ the King, thanked the eighth grade students for the ways that they supported one another and brought a good spirit to the school. "Take time to think about what you want to ask for in life, what you are truly seeking in life, and what doors you are knocking on as you reach for your goals in life," Fr. Klink challenged the graduates. 

Following the service, Principal Theresa Lessert and Fr. Winzenburg recognized students for all their achievements—and Sister Rita Ostry, the eighth grade teacher, called each graduate forward to receive their diploma.  Guest speaker Christian McGhee, a Red Cloud alum and now the athletic director at Red Cloud High School, encouraged the students to dare to dream large and to recognize that dedication and hard work are required to accomplish their dreams.

Red Cloud Elementary School’s eighth grade students were all smiles as they arrived for a mass honoring their hard work and accomplishments. As they entered the chapel on Red Cloud’s main campus, a Lakota drum group—Sons of the Oglala—performed a stirring entrance song.  The service, concelebrated by Fr. George Winzenburg and Fr. Peter Klink, wove together sacred Lakota and Catholic traditions that are at the core of a Red Cloud education. Students performed a smudging—a Lakota purification ritual—as Sons of the Oglala played an honoring song. And following a longstanding Red Cloud tradition, student received medals blessed by Fr. Klink to recognize this milestone. 

After the service, parents, families and friends greeted and embraced the new graduates. "This is definitely bitter sweet. I know they are growing up physically and maturing, but it seems like yesterday they started kindergarten," said parent Alberta Eagle.

Photos: OLL 8th Grade - All Rights Reserved ©Red Cloud Indian School