Forty students graduate from Nome-Beltz High School
By Diana Haecker
The Class of 2021 saw beautiful weather blessing their Graduation Day, as the forty students paraded in trucks through town and then headed to their outdoor graduation ceremony at Nome-Beltz.
The parade started at the Rec Center shortly after 5 p.m. and a caravan of trucks decorated with balloons and congratulatory writings snaked through town and Icy View. Nomeites waved at the graduates and collective pride of a class that endured uncertainty in this past year complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic was widely palpable.
Once at Nome-Beltz, the graduates stepped through blue and white streamers out into the parking lot set up as ceremonial grounds with chairs for graduates and families, and the stage decorated with balloons in Nanook colors. At the stage, a seal lamp was also burning, shielded from the wind by a see-through tote.
On hand were NBHS Principal Jay Thomas and Assistant Principal Teriscovkya Smith, Nome Public Schools Superintendent Jamie Burgess and Nome School Board President Sandy Martinson and school board member Darlene Trigg. Burgess delivered the welcome address, imparting valuable advice on the graduating class. Reflecting on “the strangest school year ever” she said it also had its moments of happiness and fun. Burgess gave three pieces of advice. First, she said, it’s ok to change one’s mind when selecting majors or a life path. From her own experience, she said, she changed her major three times, then had several private life changes, went back to university to attain a master’s degree. Embrace the unexpected. Advice number two was an observation on today’s society: It costs nothing to be kind. She said in today’s society people seem to be very focused on the “me” and “I”. She reminded the students that there is joy in being of service to others.
As the third advice, she said, “take time to count your blessings. An attitude of gratitude will go a long way.”
Macey Witrosky, gave the Valedictorian address and reminded her class mates that it was thanks to their teachers and their mentors to get them to this graduation day. “Never, ever tell anyone you can’t change the world,” she said. This valuable lesson, she said, was learned when she doubted her world-changing abilities in Ms. Albertson’s class, which resulted in a lengthy lecture to prove the opposite.
The rest of our lives starts today, she said. “I wish us all luck. There will be problems but we will overcome them. Remember, you can change the world,” she said.
The Nome Beltz Choir sang Pokare Kare Ana before Assistant Principal Ms. Smith delivered the Commencement Address. Having been most of the students’ English teacher prior to being the assistant principal, Ms. Smith remembered some of their quirks and then proceeded to remind them that if they want the good life, they must want to work for it hard with every fiber of their being. To bring the point home, she told a story of a man who sought out his guru to find out how to life the good life. The guru took him to the beach, into the water and held him under water. When the young man was let up, gasping for air, the guru asked, “What did you want most when you were under water?” The young man answered, “To breathe. “If you want all that life can offer as much as you want to breathe, then you get it,” said the guru.
After Ms. Smith’s speech, the graduates one by one were called to the stage to get their diplomas. Once every diploma was handed out, Principal Jay Thomas certified the graduation and the hats were flying into the blue sky, bringing graduation 2021 to an end.