Class of 2011 graduates from Kildonan

AMENIA — Friends, family, staff and alumni gathered on Friday, May 27, to celebrate the graduation of Kildonan’s class of 2011.Before the ceremony began, the graduates gathered in one of the campus buildings to don their caps and gowns. Tears of joy, sadness, nervousness and excitement flowed as they began saying their good-byes to friends and staff members who had made their time at the school as memorable as it had been.“This was a particularly tight group,” said academic dean Robert Lane. “Graduation is always very exciting, but it’s as sad for us to let them go as it is for them to leave us.”Fourteen students participated in the graduation ceremony, but there were 16 students in the graduating class.A trumpet and bagpipes played as the graduates filed into the large tent on the campus grounds where the ceremony was held.The graduation address was given by David Flink, the executive director and co-founder of Project Eye-to-Eye, a national program that connects students who have learning disabilities with a mentor who has faced similar struggles in school and life. Originally implemented using mentors from colleges, this year Kildonan became one of the first high schools to host a chapter.Flink, who is dyslexic like the Kildonan students, gave a spirited speech that had the audience laughing along knowingly during personal anecdotes about life as a dyslexic and that made hearts swell in reaction to his strong words of inspiration and support.Kildonan’s system does not recognise a valedictorian. Instead, the class elects one of their own to give an address in their honor.This year’s student address was given by Eric Hellberg, who talked about the supportive atmosphere of the school and the lasting memories and friendships the students build there.The students have a yearly tradition during graduation. Before the day of the ceremony, the students steal the bell from the dining hall. The bell was hung in the graduation tent, and each student rung it after receiving their diploma.At the end of the ceremony, the students gathered at the flag pole to raise the flag and toss their caps before being showered with congratulatory hugs and kisses from their families.Kildonan class of 2011Bonnie Louise ChatfieldLake Brycen ClemmerTaylor Matthew DavidTrevor Albert GoldEd’Demiko Kyle HarrisCarl Eric HellbergSusan Louise JohnsonEmil Todd KaufmanSophia Eleonore Charlotta Lang-AssaelHeidi Anne LebeauxErin Thompson MastersonLouis Moscatiello, IIIRyan Alexander ShermanAlec Samaras White

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