Class of 2012 says its final goodbyes

posted on May 21, 2012

The 2012 senior class bade farewell to Red Cloud on Saturday, in the ceremony that transformed them from students to alumni.

The 47-member class included six individuals who have been at Red Cloud since Kindergarten: Devin Arredondo, Lyle Jacobs, Tayler Morgan, Austin Starr, Denni Steele, and Monica Tibbitts.

The graduates processed in to a song by the drum group “Sons of the Oglala”. Senior Lyle Jacobs gave the graduates’ welcome, and Cherella Hughes ’12 provided the invocation.

In his opening remarks, high school principal James Mattern had this to say to the graduates: “Thank you for being who you are, for sharing your time and talents, your culture, your faith and energy with us…You have been kind and welcoming, you have been caring and genuinely concerned, and you have given of yourselves in service to others. As a class, you have embraced the mission of Red Cloud Indian School very well. Today marks the end of your formal education here at Red Cloud High School, but your education will continue outside these walls. I encourage you to take what you have learned here and continue to build upon it. Use Red Cloud as your base to go forward from.”

The class salutatorian was Tyrell O’Donnell, and he struck a tone of gratitude: “This is a very important time for all of us because it attests to all of the hard work and obstacles we overcame over the course of the past four years. I would like to thank everyone who personally helped us make it here today: the family members who motivated us and pushed us to come to school every day and do our homework every night, and the teachers for putting up with us and teaching us to the best of their ability, even when we were crabby, stubborn, or didn’t want to work. Without all of your support, we would not be here before you as the successful young men and women that we are today.”

Tiarra Little delivered the valedictorian’s address. In it, she spoke about the importance of grabbing opportunities in life, especially those that are unexpected. She described her own world travels, to Israel, Cambodia, and Nicaragua, and experiences such as eating giant roasted spiders. Little exhorted her classmates: “Never stop looking for opportunities; they’re all around us. You never know, the next corner you turn may be the one that happens to turn your life into something you’ve always hoped for.”

Little closed her valedictory with a quote by Mohandas Gandhi, one that is superbly expressive of the Lakota and Ignatian values of generosity and service that Red Cloud espouses, and one that she says she has grown to live by: “In order to find yourself, you must live in the service of others.”

The ceremony included the presentation of several scholarships, and the following students received awards:

Bob Clifford Scholar-Athlete Award – James Knutson

Brother Dennis Ryan Award – Cherella Hughes and Tyrell O’Donnell

Cassandra Pine Memorial Scholarship – Tyrell O’Donnell

Golden West Scholarship – Nick Cummings

Phil Stevens Scholarship – Ernest Weston

Ritter Merit Scholarship – Marcus Fast Wolf

Walter J. and Sarah L. Tetrault Memorial Scholarship - Tyrell O'Donnell

The class motto was: “Together we experienced life, separately we will pursue our dreams, and forever our memories remain.”

A photo gallery of the 2012 graduation ceremony can be found HERE.