As the sun set on a 90-degree day, 193 Warrenton High School graduating seniors displayed coolness and composure as they marched on to the football field before a dais of administrators, faculty, board members and a stack of freshly minted red diplomas.
Despite the record temperature, most of the Class of 2012 were fully focused on the occasion. Graduates were nervous and excited about “walking” to receive their diplomas as the culmination years of study, extracurricular activities and growing up.
For Hannah Fregoe, the evening was a rite of passage, honoring her accomplishments and those of her classmates, and an occasion to celebrate looking to what is ahead. Fregoe — who graduated in the top 10 percent of her class — decorated her mortarboard with travel stickers for the college path she plans in international studies.
Sara Siebuhr said she is going to study to become a paramedic.
“I’m nervous and excited,” said student body President Kelsey Strauss as she stood holding the school flag to lead the rest of the class onto the field. Strauss, who is a National Honor Society student, is going to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in the fall.
Among Strauss’ classmates and fellow National Honor Society members was Renae Boedeker, the 10th (“and last”) child of Ron and Debbie Boedeker to graduate from Warrenton High School.
“We feel really blessed,” said Ron Boedeker. “We’ve had a great adventure with the schools here; the teachers and staff have been so great.”
To mark the occasion all of the Boedeker children came home to participate in sister Renae’s graduation. The family — including siblings Becky, Vickie, David, Kevin, Mandy, Michelle, Liz, Jacob and Josh — celebrated with a party at home.
“We had a lot of stories to share over ice cream,” said Ron Boedeker.
On Saturday, Renae received a letter she had written to herself in fourth grade to receive at graduation. Her fourth-grade teacher Mrs. Current had mailed the letters as she promised to do eight years ago.
In his remarks during the ceremony, high school principal Jeremy Way praised the senior class for its achievements, underscoring the class’s involvement in the community.
“You have planted flowers, been bell ringers for the Salvation Army, served meals to veterans, donated food to the needy, adopted families for Christmas, raised money for a variety of charities, tutored younger students, and generally made this corner of the world a better place,” Way told graduates.
Alum (Class of 1998) Jamian Brent, now an attorney for the state of Massachusetts, delivered the commencement address. She reminded graduates to take enormous pride in where they are from.
“You’ve heard the expression, ‘It takes a village to raise a child, ‘ “ Brent told graduates. “This is the village that raised me and that raised you, and I truly believe we come from one of the best villages in the world.”
Brent said that in searching for a “universal truth” to convey to graduates, she came to realize that there is no road map that applies to everyone on how to live his or her own life.
Brent spoke about how she was scared to move to Boston for law school and of her fears of succeeding among kids who had gone to bigger schools. She said that what gave her the strength was knowing that she always has a home here.
“Because of that, I knew I would never be lost in the world,” Brent said. “This community will continue to be here to support you, no matter what you do.”
Brent closed by telling graduates to never doubt that they have what it takes to succeed just because they come from a smaller “village.”
“I can speak from experience when I tell you that the education and guidance you have received from this school has prepared you just fine to swim in bigger pools or even oceans if you choose to,” she said. “It has prepared you well for the next phase of your life, whatever you choose.”