Slater seniors honored during Sunday commencement ceremony

Sunday, May 15, 2011
Graduates of Slater High School listen to speakers during the commencement ceremony Sunday, May 15.(Sarah Reed/Democrat-News)

Slater's Class of 2011 are now high school graduates, after the commencement ceremony held Sunday afternoon, May 15.

The high school gym floor steadily changed to purple as students made their way to their seats. Seniors sat anxious for the day to end, ready to be high school graduates.

Guest speaker Mike Kleine encouraged students to be more concerned with their character than their reputation, and discouraged them from letting others define their success.

"Define it for yourself," Kleine stated.

He reminded the class that his high school career ended 40 years ago, during the time of the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy.

"We were sitting where you are and thought the world was going to end," Kleine said.

He continued to parallel the times, reassuring seniors that it's natural to be nervous when chapters in their lives are changing.

"Embrace the excitement. You can make a difference," he continued.

But Kleine's speech also came close to home, telling graduates they'll "be amazed" with how their parents become more brilliant every year. He joked about his mother kicking him off the honor roll by giving him a "C."

"All the psychologists" taught him to forgive her, he joked.

The graduating class seems well prepared for the paths they choose. According to Guidance Counselor Jessica Clements, the class has received more than $96,000 in scholarship awards to date.

"These are some of the best kids that I have ever worked with," she said.

The class valedictorian was Saria Leimkeuhler, and Chris Borgman was this year's salutatorian.

After giving flowers to loved ones in the stands, seniors received their diplomas and left the gym a bit more prepared for the future.

Contact Sarah Reed at

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  • I have talked with several of these young people from this class over the years,and I believe that there is something special about them.They seem very kind and genuine and I wish them all a great life. Speaker mike kleine, that was the best advice anyone could ever give

    -- Posted by greg floyd on Sun, May 15, 2011, at 8:52 PM
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