By Ron VandenBoom
A packed house of parents and well-wishers gathered in the Havre High School Gymnasium Tuesday heralding the graduation of 169 seniors, the last class of the millennium.
Theyve made a significant mark on Havre High School history, said Kirk Miller, superintendent of Havre Public Schools prior to commencement. Both through their participation in the classroom and through many, many activities. Theyve demonstrated lots of leadership and were going to miss them.
Havre High School Principal James Donovan said he was forced to think back to the commitment the class made earlier in the year to fill the shoes of those classes that came before them.
And the only thing I can say with confidence is theyve done a lot this year academically, scholarship wise, music, drama, athletics, the whole nine yards, theyve been a very productive group.
The students selected James Magera, a long-time teacher at the school, as the commencement speaker.
Miller introduced Magera as a teacher, a friend, and all around good guy to the students.
He referred to him as a valuable member of the Havre Public School team who had a bachelors degree in social studies, a masters degree in life and a Ph.D. in drawing the best out of his students.
Magera began his address by poking fun at the class with an admonishment to always eat breakfast. Its the most important meal of the day, he said, and if youre not home by 10 a.m., youre in real trouble.
He also gave advice on hygiene borrowed from KISS. The rock group, he explained, not the activity.
Bathe, he said, people around you will appreciate it.
Magera adopted a more serious tone when he admonished the graduates to find their strengths and develop them.
He suggested they not try to be better than anyone else because as individuals we are unique and different from everyone else.
From the beginning of time there have been 11 billion people walking the face of the earth, he said, and there has never been, nor will there ever be, another one just like you. You are rare, you are different and you are special.
Magera told the seniors they were engineered for success and endowed with the ability to achieve greatness. But he warned them that they were not really done with education.
No matter what your plans are, education is just beginning for you, he said.
He admonished the graduates not to let anyone convince them they cant do things they really want to do.
Its important that you who have special gifts, he said. Take the opportunity to cultivate them and every one of you has some special gift.
Magera encouraged the students to share their special gifts once they have cultivated them, it will make our state, our country, and our world a better place.
Magera closed his comments by asking the new graduates to be confident, be competent and be kind.