Brooke Margheim and Taryn Spady were used to being in the spotlight during their high school career.
For Spady, it was the athletic playing field. For Margheim, it was on the stage in musicals and singing the national anthem at events. Both were part of the 115th Scottsbluff High School Commencement at Bearcat Stadium Sunday that sent out the 209 graduates onto their next adventure, whether it be college or the workforce.
“It’s my biggest accomplishment so far,” said Margheim, who will be attending the University of Nebraska at Omaha studying political science. “I’m glad I got to graduate at Scottsbluff. I will miss being in the high school musicals.”
Spady put in a lot of time on the paying service as a member of the softball, basketball and track teams. Spady will now take her softball talents to Hastings College where she plans on playing for three years before attending the University of Nebraska Medical Center to achieve a goal of becoming a pharmacist.
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“It felt like such a weight lifted off my shoulders to know that all of the time and effort I’ve put into school has paid off and now I am prepared to take my academic and athletic careers to the next level,” Spady said. “My best memories throughout high school have always come from sports and creating friendships that will last a lifetime. One of my favorites would be getting to compete at the state level in softball, basketball, and track my senior year alongside one of my best friends, Marly Laucomer.”
Leaving Scottsbluff High is the ending of one chapter in the book of life and the start of a new chapter. For Aubrey Barrett, it is the start of a new chapter as she gets ready to head to Chadron State College to study human biology/pre-physical therapy with hopes to become a physical therapist.
“To finally walk the stage and receive my diploma means a new step into my future and a new step and new journey that awaits me,” said Barrett, who just completed her spring sport of tennis at the state championships a couple of days before graduation. “Graduation is exhausting and stressful, but it is all worth it in the end.”
Anna Kelley, who won two individual state golf championships in her high school career, will be heading to Arizona State University to study business management. Kelley’s high school career was packed full of activities.
“Finally getting my diploma was a great feeling and made me realize all the hard work was worth it,” she said. “I have so many memories, it’s hard to pick, but I’ve had so much fun playing sports with my friends and winning state golf. And clubs like DECA were fun and gave me great business experience.”
Sunday’s afternoon festivities started with a class picture in Bluffs Middle School. Afterward, the seniors marched onto the football field as their families and friends watched and cheered.
Seniors Michael Mickey and Riley Ibero gave the senior speeches with the Scottsbluff choir singing “You Do Not Walk Alone” between the speeches.
Senior classmates and student body officers Destina Cervantes, Sara Griess, Alysa Mendoza, Valeria Arriaga and Elizabeth Roberts read off the names as each graduate walked across the stage, received their diploma from a school board member and then walked down the line of Scottsbluff instructors who congratulated each graduate.
The graduates will all head to different avenues in their life. Three members will be entering the military: Anthony Blanco, Cobin Loutzenhiser and Cayden Hightower.
Four students also received their certificates of completion in cosmetology from Beauty Haus Academy: Valeria Arriaga, Olivia Garcia, Adrianne Kennedy and Ashley Lopez. There were also 77 graduates who were part of the high school’s career academy and eight students who received certificates of completion from Western Nebraska Community College.
Fifty-four graduates earned high academic honors as being a cum laude honorary, whether it was a summa cum laude, magna cum laude or a cum laude academic honor. Nearly 100 graduates earned some sort of college scholarship.
All four seniors interviewed, Margheim, Spady, Barrett and Kelley, offered their advice to future Scottsbluff graduates.
“Don’t be afraid to be yourself,” Margheim said. “The right people will love you for who you really are.”
Spady’s advice is “to make the most of high school and create as many memories as possible. At some points, it gets difficult, but having a good support system can help drastically, whether it be friends, teachers, administrators, coaches or family.”
Spady and Margheim each said the Scottsbluff staff was truly remarkable in their time as a Bearcat.
“I would like to thank my family, friends, teachers, coaches, administrators and the community for the endless support I have received throughout my high school career,” Spady said.
Margheim said, “I want to say thank you to all the amazing staff and teachers at SHS for everything they’ve done for us.”
Kelley told future graduates: “Stay strong when things get hard. It’ll be worth it. And enjoy the moment.”
Barrett advised the future Bearcat graduates to get involved in as many activities as possible.
“My advice for future Scottsbluff High School students includes immerse yourself in all sports, clubs and career classes to make your time at SHS memorable,” Barrett said. “Also, make friends with your high school counselor because they are the most helpful people there is during graduation time.”