Pelican Class of 2018 walks from past to present to future at May 25 commencement

The banner proclaimed an appropriate message, across the gym wall, during the 2018 commencement in Pelican Rapids.
Tossing their mortar boards at the conclusion of graduation ceremonies May 25, the Pelican Rapids Class of 2018.
It was all smiles and goodwill following commencement exercises for the Pelican Rapids Class of 2018. It was a heartwarming experience especially for special needs student Hanad Mohamed Diriye, who began school in Pelican in 2012 assisted
in the hallways by a walker–yet strolled across the stage unassisted on May 25 to receive his diploma.

He is pictured with activities director Derrick Nelson, right, and high school principal Brian Korf–who made a special mention of Diriye at the program, which drew applause from the nearly packed gym.
Pictured with his family is Hanad Mohamed Diriye, a special needs student who was applauded when he crossed the stage to receive his diploma. From left, father Mohamed Mohamed, mother Fadumo and brother Auub Mohamed.
Graduates prepare to enter the gym for the opening processional, at the Pelican Rapids High School Class of 2018 commencement.

Commencement is the only moment in life where an individual–literally–passes from one stage of life to the next, in a matter of a couple dozen paces.

That was part of the message from Pelican Rapids School Board Chairman Charlie Blixt, as the Pelican Class of 2018 prepared to take those steps, and receive their diploma midway through their walk.

Of the 69 students who strode across the stage May 25, the most applauded young adult was Hanad Mohamed Diriye. High School Principal Brian Korf made a special comment prior to the presentation of diplomas.

The son of Somali immigrants, Diriye began school in Pelican Rapids aided by a walker, in 2012. By graduation night 2018, Diriye crossed the stage unassisted.

“Amazing” said his proud parents Mohamed Mohamed and Fadumo, following the ceremony –as the family gathered for photographs.

Co-salutatorian Morgan Berg

The diploma held by Diriye is no different than the diploma held in the hands of his classmates. As Blixt pointed out in his message, “everybody who walks off the stage has the same opportunity as everybody else.” The next stage for the Class of 2018 will be not “what they know, but what they do with what they know.”

A welcome message, with excerpts from the familiar Dr. Suess story “Places You’ll Go,” was delivered by Superintendent Randi Anderson.

The top three students delivered messages, with a “past, present and future” theme.

Reflecting on the past was co-salutatorian Morgan Berg, who recalled the early stages of she and her Class of 2018 colleagues.

Addressing the present, co-salutatorian Rachel Lynnes.

Inspired by a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote “If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how would man marvel and stare?” Lynnes challenged her classmates to be “present in your life.”

“Live every moment as if you are seeing stars appear in the sky for the first time in a thousand years,” said Lynnes.

Valedictorian Carlan Haugrud called on graduates to “embrace our roles as lifelong learners…We must take initiative and strike when opportunity arises.”

Co-salutatorian Rachel Lynnes

“Will Rogers was quoted as saying, ‘even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just s sit there,’” said Haugrud. “If we are complacent and don’t take action in order to reach our goals, it is unlikely that we will succeed; we will get run over.”

“Through embracing our roles as lifelong learners, taking initiative, and striving to leave our mark in a positive way, we can help enhance our own futures while also creating better futures for everyone we come into contact with.

These qualities are already inside all of us; all we must do is continue to implement them into our own lives. By doing this, we can combat the nagging, annoying uncertainty of the future and expect to live a life filled with meaning,” stated Haugrud.

“Once a Viking, always a Viking,” said Principal Korf to the graduates, also sharing a story linking the past to the present. Pelican’s top student, Haugrud this season broke the school record in the 100m dash. Coincidentally, the record stood since 1985–set by his uncle, Cary Haugrud, a
member of the Pelican school faculty. “Carlan will now have bragging rights at family reunions,” said Korf.