Shoshone-Bannock graduates at the commencement ceremony May 29.
By LACEY WHELAN
FORT HALL — The Shoshone-Bannock Jr./Sr. High School was filled with many of the 2019 graduates family and friends on Wednesday evening, May 29.
Wyatt Beasley, Andrew Baldwin and elder Ernest Wahtomy led the 15 graduates into the gym, during an honor song by Medicine Thunder.
Spencer Bache gave the prayer, SBHS Queen and Student Council President Tia Blacksmith Buckskin also gave a welcome and Fort Hall Business Council Member Donna Thompson gave a small speech on behalf of the Fort Hall Business Council.
Matt Wilson, M.S. Ed was the Master of Ceremonies.
The school board was next to speak to the graduates and praise them on a job well done. Valedictorian Elias Plentywounds and Salutatorian Jalisa Jack said a few words to the graduates. Doyle Anderson, of the FIELDS Program had a special award for Wyatt Beasley.
Former Sho-Ban superintendent and principal Jonathan Braack was asked to speak to the graduates, and said there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about you students and he prays for everyone. He loves all the students, their families, and his former staff.” He mentions to the graduates, to throw off the boat and leave the safe harbor. Explore, dream, and discover. “In whatever you do remember to keep moving.” He congratulated the class of 2019 and thanked Matt Wilson for letting him speak.
Keynote Speaker Wiley Petersen gave the keynote address. He currently works as a physician’s assistant at the Not-tsoo Gah-nee Fort Hall Indian Health Service clinic. He began by saying what an honor it was to be asked to speak for the 2019 graduates. He said he is extremely proud of them for reaching a goal this huge.
He said with great certainty that this is not the end, “It’s hopefully one of the small goals you reach.” He thought to himself what can he say to these graduates that is not too cliché. He thinks back on his own life and what his experiences have shown him. He believes if there was a theme to his life or a lesson that really helped him in his life and it came down to a few things. “It’s about the importance of dreaming, working and persevering.” These things kept him moving and have helped him in his life.
Wiley believes dreams kind of give life energy. “Our dreams are what keeps us moving — we have in our hearts a dream that we believe could happen or we could reach that dream and this keeps us moving.” He encouraged the students to go on after high school, and he knows many of the students first dream was to graduate high school, but to maybe dream bigger to move on to the next level of education, and make that their new dream.
He sincerely believes if there is something that someone wants bad enough, they will figure out a way to make it happen. We live in a country with the only limitations we have are the ones we place on ourselves. He encouraged all to find a short-term dream as well as a long-term dream. “Challenge yourself and keep going.”
Everyone started out just like the graduates, they all start somewhere and start with very little and they fight for what they have. Wiley said his biggest dream was to be a professional bull rider. He gave everything he had to become it and fulfilled the dream. He then speaks on work. He feels many try to avoid work, but really work and effort is what gets us where we need to be. “We all got to get out here and work, and hustle. Work your butt of and do your best and make things happen,” he continued.
He remembers hearing whatever it is you want to do, there is going to be some work involved. High school starts it all, you do the work and you graduate. If you don’t try at anything then it’s guaranteed that you will fail. “Take your chances take some risks and enjoy the journey because that is what life is all about,” he said.
Wiley realizes people would like all things to be done easy, “But then we don’t appreciate it. So be willing to do what it takes and do the work.”
He encouraged the graduates to have a great work ethic and perseverance. Your going to have things that will make you want to give up but if you do, you won’t be successful. He says, “In life, your gonna get bucked off you might have to get back up and dust yourself off, and move on to the next one- but that’s life. Accept it, embrace it, and keep thanking the people that helped you get where you’re at.”
Don’t ever quit, if anything adjust your course and keep moving. He reminded all to love and respect everyone and most importantly love and respect yourself.
The presentation of diplomas read by Andrew Baldwin and Carol Perkins followed, and the students were given a red rose, the class flower, with their diplomas.
The graduates include: Rylee Appenay, Terrell Ariwite, Spencer Bache, Wyatt Beasley, Mary Benally, Ta Wapaha Elk, Jaysten Harris, Jalisa Jack, Kiryn Jim, Jamar Johnson French, Amelia Montoya, Damecia Pine, Elias Plentywounds, Maurica Rodriguez, and Audrey Turner.
After the commencement, a slideshow of the graduates was shown as Medicine Thunder sang for everyone. During the slideshow the family and friends were encouraged to go up to all the graduates and shake hands.
After the ceremony was finished everyone was invited to the schools cafeteria to have refreshments and take photos with the graduates.