By Jennifer Von Ohlen
DASSEL, COKATO, MN Dassel-Cokato’s class of 2018 bid farewell to the district at its graduation ceremony June 3.
Graduate Kyle Little opened the ceremony with an invocation prayer, asking that God would help the graduates hear His voice as they “seek [God’s] direction for [their] lives.”
Graduate David Kivisto welcomed the crowd and student body, while thanking teachers for helping the students on their way to graduation.
“Dassel-Cokato will always be a part of us, and what a blessing that is,” Kivisto commented.
Following Kivisto’s address, the DC concert and symphonic band performed the senior music selection “Eiger: A Journey to the Summit,” composed by James Swearingen.
The foreign exchange student body was represented by German student Clara Mueller, who, about a year ago, got the idea to move to a country she didn’t know, move in with a family she didn’t know, and attend a school she knew nothing about.
“Some of my friends thought it was the dumbest idea ever,” remembered Mueller.
What she found, however, was that it was one of the best ideas she had ever pursued.
As she prepared for her adventure, some of her classmates and friends asked if she was headed for some big city in New York or Florida or California. When she informed them that she was attending a school located in “the middle of a giant cornfield in the middle of Minnesota,” her classmates still didn’t know what to think.
Mueller, however, had some idea of what to expect, since her brother had attended DC as an exchange student a few years prior.
Mueller’s and the other exchange students’ own experiences in making friends, doing extracurricular activities, and learning from American teachers helped her and her fellow travelers grow into their own persons.
“Five individuals came [to DC] as children and will leave as adults,” Mueller stated.
At the conclusion of Mueller’s speech, the DC concert choir performed “900 Miles,” arranged by Philip E. Silvey; and “The Blessing,” by Kate Moran Bart.
After a video presentation highlighted some of the graduates’ fondest school memories, high school guidance counselor Ryan Tool gave the faculty address.
His point of emphasis: failure.
“I know, inspiring, right?” Tool sympathized.
He acknowledged that many individuals may advise the graduates that “failure is not an option,” a phrase made famous by NASA’s Gene Kranz. However, Tool does not believe it is fair to leave it at that.
Rather his hope for the graduating class was that they would have the courage to “fail forward.”
“[Failure] does not need to be feared,” Tool said. “Greatness is never achieved on the first go. It is important to learn from the failure and grow from it.”
This is not to say that the graduates should seek out failure, but that they should not let the fear of failure get in the way of their ambitions.
“Having a little fear may be wise, but I don’t want it to stop you,” Tool stated.