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DHS says farewell to 170 in Class of 2008

The Dickinson High School Class of 2008 gathered one last time Sunday afternoon during the 114th annual commencement ceremonies in the DHS gym. A total of 170 diplomas were issued while Brooke Biederstedt and Andrew Ulmer spoke on behalf of the g...

The Dickinson High School Class of 2008 gathered one last time Sunday afternoon during the 114th annual commencement ceremonies in the DHS gym.

A total of 170 diplomas were issued while Brooke Biederstedt and Andrew Ulmer spoke on behalf of the graduates as selected by the National Honor Society.

Biederstedt said the anticipation associated with graduation day reminds her of the first day of school.

"You were probably thinking to yourself, 'What have I gotten myself into?' Finally you build up enough courage and push the doors open into a whole new realm," she said. "Little did you know, by taking this step, you were introduced to a whole new world filled with new experiences and a variety of people."

The friends and family members who have participated in their lives have helped the graduates to discover the people they have become today, she said. At the same time, however, Biederstedt said today is the time to focus on what is ahead.

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"Now is the time when you must branch off from these individuals, but by taking everything you have learned from them with you into the next stage of life, they will still be there," she said. "You must once again gain the courage to step into a new realm."

This next stage in life requires finding yourself all over again while continuing to meet new individuals.

"Some of whom will encourage you to keep on the straight and narrow path; others will cause delays and struggles," Biederstedt said. "It is now essential that you remember to stay true to yourself, there is no need to prove who you are to anyone - you are who you are...Now, more than ever before, you must be your own cheerleader in order to help yourself achieve what you most desire."

Meanwhile, Ulmer has realized over the past couple of weeks that school is ending and it's time to say goodbye to classmates and friends.

"I have known some of you since kindergarten, and some of you I've only really got the chance to know over the past four to six years," he said. "Either way, the times we have shared are priceless to me and I hope never to forget them."

He thanked all of his classmates and acknowledged they are the ones who will make this world work in a few years. Ulmer also is honored and privileged to have gone to school with such an excellent group of individuals.

"I sure all of the other graduates would agree, but I think Mr. Abrahamson summed it up with the word 'class' last Saturday night when he spoke at the senior banquet, because we truly are a group with class," he said.

Ulmer then thanked the teachers as DHS for making a lasting impression on the entire class.

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"You have certainly given me the tools I need to succeed in life...I think," he said jokingly. "But I honestly do feel that, in one way or another, you have made a lasting impression on many of the students you have had a chance to teach."

He also thanked his parents, best friend Joel Johnson and his grandfather "because I can honestly say for a fact that I would not have turned out anywhere near the way I did without my grandfather's guidance and leadership."

The graduates included two empty chairs in the front row in memory of Amber Brennan and Joshua Stockert.

Brennan died as the result of injuries from an auto accident on July 25, 2006. Stockert died this past Jan. 21 from an aortic aneurysm.

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