Escorted by kilt-clad junior honor students, they walked in two by two, the Glasgow High School graduating class of 2013, the white-robed girls carrying red flowers, the boys in red wearing white boutonnieres.
As Andy Gardner, the class representative, told them in his Senior Address, their class of 47 graduates is the smallest class since 1930, and the smallest from this school building. Seventeen of them started kindergarten together.
Seniors are graduating all over the country but today, he said, “We’re graduating from Glasgow High School – it’s a miracle!”
He joked about half of them being ready for the challenges ahead, then said, “Growing up in Glasgow, we are bred not necessarily to be perfect or the best, but to not give up.”
“I knew someday I would be speaking to a graduating class,” said Sam Knodel, class of 1985, Homecoming King in 1984, who went away to Northern Montana College in Havre for two years and returned to start a family and spend his life in the family business, Eugene’s Pizza.
“I’m not a lawyer, doctor, CEO. I’m not a lot of things. I didn’t even fly here to speak. I have written a stage play. I have songs and plays in my head. I’m not finished yet. I have plenty of dreams, goals and ideas.”
He gave the seniors six keys points for success and advised them to be patient, it can take years, but “When the green light shines, go after it.”
Before their eyes he achieved what he said had been a secret goal: to give the successful speech, have people laugh at his jokes and get a standing ovation at the end.
School Board Chairman Alison Molvig noted seven teachers, staff and board members who are retiring with a total of 167 years of service in the Glasgow schools. GHS Principal Marj Markle is one of them. The students presented her with a farewell gift, a framed photo of the Scottie dog in front of the school.
The Concert Band, Concert Choir and Swing Choir performed their final numbers together. Knodel had the next-to-last word - or note - at graduation. Just before the rousing final rendition of the school song, the student musicians performed a recessional he wrote, “Here’s To You.”