The 2013 -2014 school year has drawn to a close. Students are enjoying some free time and the teaching staffs of the local school districts are regrouping for the fall. On May 21, I attended the Graettinger-Terril fifth grade graduation program at the elementary school in Terril. The evening was full of performances, memories and words of encouragement as the 23 students head to middle school.
The tone for the evening's celebration was set as soon as the programs were handed out. On the program front was Mrs. Hunefeld's classroom motto: In this classroomWe do second chances, we apologize, we forgive, we respect each other, we keep our promises, we never give up, we encourage one another, we laugh often, we belong, we are family.
The evening began with a performance by the fifth grade band students. Band director Tyler Pederson spoke about the improvements made by the students over the previous months. He asked the parents to continue to encourage their children in the arts. "I told the students recently that the hardest part of playing an instrument learning how to do it is behind them," said Pederson. Personally, I smiled and was reminded of our daughter's one regret from high school not continuing to play in the band her senior year. The band sounded good. They tackled some challenging music.
Part of the evening events was the D.A.R.E. graduation. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program began in 1983 by Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates. The mission of the program is to teach students good decision making skills to help them lead safe and healthy lives. In keeping up with social trends, the vision has developed and changed over the decades. The program vision is: A world in which students everywhere are empowered to respect others and choose to lead lives free from violence, substance abuse and other dangerous behaviors. As the students read the essays written during the D.A.R.E. training, it was evident that instructor Sheriff Baloun had connected with the students.
During her speech, Mrs. Hunefeld spoke about her class, highlighting the year and praising the students for their maturity and willingness to help others. Hunefeld talked about the manner in which the students grabbed hold of the notion of random acts of kindness. During the holiday season, the students were busy showing gratitude to those around them. Through their leadership, the students also chose to help a former student Cody Davis by raising money for his battle against a disease causing blindness.
Giggles and full-out laughter occurred as Mrs. Hunefeld shared her favorite memories of each student. She spoke about the growth she had seen in each student and encouraged them each to continue to be leaders as they progressed through their education.
As a special treat, the students where shown a video clip Kelsey Klingensmith, also known as Kelsey K, had recorded, congratulating them and wishing them well as they entered Middle School. Earlier in the year, several fifth grade students decided to research the accomplishments of the young Moville, Iowa songwriter/singer. After reaching out to her, the class corresponded with Kelsey and, on at least one occasion, had the opportunity to Skype with her and ask questions about her experiences in the county music industry.
Before the diplomas were handed out, a student slideshow was also shown and included the career aspirations of the fifth graders. From the information shared, it appears as though all sectors of the ecomony will have new employees.
As with all graduation ceremonies, the evening concluded with friends and family sharing cake and punch in the school lunchroom. It wouldn't be graduation without cake.
Get ready Graettinger, the Titan class of 2021 is heading your direction!