Click the photograph above or use the arrows to see more images from Glacier High School’s graduation.
Before a crowd numbering in the thousands, the seniors of Glacier High School threw their blue caps in the air and made their mark as the first-ever graduating class.
“We’ll be remembered forever,” said Evan McLellan, a senior who joined the Marine Corps two months ago. “We’re etching the stone.”
By 10 a.m. Saturday morning, the basketball nets in Glacier High’s state-of-the-art gymnasium were replaced by a stage at one end, the school band at the other and 236 seats in the center waiting to be filled by the class of 2009.
Gathered together in classrooms for one last roll call, the students appeared poised and ready to take on whatever challenges may lie ahead.
Such confidence and maturity in a senior class is unique, and something the students undoubtedly acquired while adjusting to the switch from Flathead High School to Glacier when the new school was built two years ago.
“Most classes don’t have to be torn apart from what they’ve known and start over and build something new,” said senior and student body secretary Martha Obermiller. “It made everyone in our class a stronger person.”
Obermiller, who plans to attend the University of Colorado honors program, said she and her classmates worked hard to achieve a positive attitude throughout their time at Glacier, being careful not to isolate the students in the grades below them.
“Glacier was really one student body,” she said.
This attitude, Obermiller believes, helped to prepare them for graduation.
“Now we’re more ready to go out into the world,” she said.
While speaking of the graduates’ exceptional character and leadership ability, English teacher Ivanna Fritz broke down into tears.
“Bravery sets them apart,” said Fritz, who is also the school’s debate coach and head of the theater department. “They all spent their sophomore year at Flathead and 98 percent loved it. They were determined to make a legacy. They (said), ‘This is our job to start out right.’”
Fritz said the students are different from any senior class she has ever had, and moving to Glacier together forced them to be a close class.
“The neat thing about them is their unity,” she said.
“It seems like after the switch, we had to work harder to bond more,” he said. “Flathead is already together. We had to make new traditions. We had to step up.”
Obermiller said this bond translated into a deeper relationship with their teachers as well.
“We’ll definitely keep in touch with the teachers,” she said. “That’s another thing, the teachers couldn’t have prepared us for the split, but they definitely went through it with us.”
Fritz noted the seniors are accomplished on many levels, not just as the first Glacier High School graduating class.
They are a class who donated art supplies to local charity Hanna’s Dream and put on 10 theater productions over the course of a year, and a class with National Honor Society members, fair and competitive athletes, talented musicians and creative entrepreneurs.
“There’s just outstanding kids all around,” Fritz said. “They are genuine and classy.”
When the halls of Glacier High School fill next fall with a bright-eyed new crop of seniors striving to fill the successful shoes of the class of 2009, this year’s seniors will have moved on, but they can rest confidently knowing their mark on the school will always remain.
“We have left a legacy that will forever be named the foundation of our high school. We truly are and will forever be, Glacier,” senior class president Hillary Secrist told her fellow classmates Saturday. “Class of 2009, you are officially dismissed.”
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