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Class of 2019 graduates

Graduating seniors Kaytlin Eckmann, left, and Maiya Dietz, share a laugh during the commencement exercises at Fairmont High School on Sunday afternoon.

FAIRMONT — Fairmont High School’s senior class underwent commencement Sunday afternoon at the high school’s gymnasium. The class of 2019 is made up of 129 students.

Fairmont’s superintendent, Joe Brown, first addressed the students, along with family and friends in attendance, by highlighting all that Fairmont High School has to offer.

“Fairmont High School is a comprehensive high school. We have 21 college classes, 22 sport teams, countless student organizations, comprehensive fine arts classes: band, choir, orchestra, speech, drama, art. A comprehensive vocational wing: agriculture, welding, automotive, small engines, construction trades, metatronics and family and consumer science.”

“We have a safe teaching and learning environment. We have a strong faculty and we have great students,” Brown concluded.

The class speaker was Eric Head, a student who was involved in a great number of activities throughout his school years. Head told his classmates a quote that Steve Jobs gave at a commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005.

“You can’t connect the dots of your life moving forward, you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future,” Head said.

Head then went on to connect some dots that the students have shared throughout their 12 years of school together.

“We’ve learned about the importance of literature, about math, about sciences and the arts. But most importantly, we’ve learned the importance of not only being intelligent, but also being kind. We’ve learned to be resilient, to be caring and to care. Long after we leave FHS, these are the lessons that we will remember,” Head said.

Head said at the end of the day or month or year, everyone’s path will look different, but it’s all about the connections made between the dots.

“No matter which way you go about it, no matter how long it takes you and no matter where your image ends up, we will always share a part of the same image and that image will always be rooted here,” Head said, holding up a picture of a cardinal that he connected with dots.

“We will always be at least a part of a cardinal,” Head said.

Principal Kim Niss then addressed the graduating class.

“We come together to celebrate your accomplishments as a class, and as individuals. We also come together to say goodbye to one another. Today is that special day which marks an end to your paths as students of Fairmont Area Schools, and the beginning to your future self,” Niss said.

“I hope you take with you the importance of hard work, of never giving up, of not letting self-doubt get in the way of what you become and accomplish in life.”

Niss told the students she hopes they know that kindness and empathy is needed in the world. She asked the students to be inclusive of those different than them.

“Remember to use your past and the lessons that come with it, to embrace your future. Create one that you will be very proud of,” Niss told the students.

The ceremony also included a performance by the high school choir, which sang “You Raise Me Up,” as well as the school song, under the direction of Molly Bleess. The high school concert band provided a pre-ceremony concert under the direction of Kate Kallenbach.

Roll call was given by senior class president, Grace Higgins. School board members Mari Myren and Rufus Rodriguez handed out diplomas and Niss and Brown shook hands with students after they crossed the stage.

This year, students names were not only called during the roll call, but what they attend to do following graduation was also announced with a mix of students going on to four and two-year schools, into the workforce or into the armed forces.

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