BLACKFOOT â€” Proud parents, families, faculty and friends celebrated with the 36 graduating seniors of the Class of 2011 from the Independence Alternative High School (IAHS). The graduation ceremony was Friday in the Blackfoot Performing Arts Center.
The student speakersâ€”Chelsea Barzee, Wendi Cameron, Cecilia Nieto and Eddy Payneâ€”each expressed appreciation to their teachers "who helped us get where we are."
"Some of us have been through some rough times," said Nieto. "We know how to get back up.
"[The teachers] understand you," she said. "They communicate with you and understand your point of view.
"I don't know where I'd be without them," Nieto said.
Nieto earned a two-year full ride scholarship to Eastern Idaho Technical College. She wants to become a nurse.
Speaking to his classmates, Payne said, "In each and every one of you there's greatness.
"Fulfill your dreams; live your life to the fullest."
The co-valedictorians were Cameron and Barzee.
"My dad died two years ago," Cameron said. "I thank everyone who helped me through my struggles."
Cameron plans to attend the College of Southern Idaho to major in culinary arts with an emphasis in cake decorating.
"I plan to end up on television with my own cake decorating show," she said.
Barzee received scholarships to attend Idaho State University. She plans to major in zoology and then attend Washington State University to become a veterinarian.
"We are heading into a lifetime of possibilities," Barzee said. "This is not the end but the beginning."
Speaking to the seniors, IAHS teacher Dan Grimes said, "It doesn't take any courage to be average. Shoot for greatness.
"Achieving goals is important but having goals and working toward those goals is more important," he said.
"Sometimes when you shot for a goal; sometimes you don't get it," Grimes said. "It does not matter what awards you receive in life. It matters what you in your heart do."
After presenting diplomas to the Class of 2011, IAHS principal Mark Kartchner said, "Teachers work hard. I credit my staff and appreciate them.
"I do appreciate you [parents] letting us borrow your students for awhile," said Kartchner. "[The teachers and administration] act as parents sometimes. We tell the students what we would tell our own childrenâ€”we tell them to be successful."
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