As she reflected on her years at Tremper High School, senior Isabella Ricker was quick to point out the change she and nearly 400 of her classmates are about to embark on comes with a mixture of emotions.

“Today is bittersweet,” said Ricker, this year’s salutatorian, who offered a perspective Friday during a commencement ceremony for the high school’s 55th graduating class.

“Our minds are filled with memories,” said Ricker, who is planning to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison on a pre-law track. “The days were long, but the years were short. It feels like we blinked.”

Several other representatives from Tremper’s class of 2019 shared their thoughts with family and friends gathered at Indian Trail High School and Academy.

Valedictorian Lauren Birschbach, who plans to attend the University of Alabama and study chemical engineering, delved into the challenging, yet all-too-important concept of changes in life.

“Changing the world seems like a big task,” Birschbach said. “But we can change the world. We can change the world every day we are alive.”

Pointing to the family and friends in attendance, Birschbach said, “We were changing the world before we even learned to tie our shoes.”

Looking to the future, Birschbach added, “All of us will change the world in our own small ways. When each of us commits to making small changes, big changes will follow.”

As she gave her final thoughts, Birschbach shared an analogy of each member of Tremper’s class of 2019 being akin to a rock.

Each member of the class is going to be thrown out into the real world, “and we are all going to make ripples,” she said.

Principal Steven Knecht also paid homage, not only to each member of the graduating class, but to all of the attendees.

“The energy fills this fieldhouse tonight,” Knecht said. “If you are here tonight, you have helped shape a graduate.”

Friday’s commencement ceremony officially got underway after a 15-minute processional that was accompanied with a “Grand March” from “Aida,” composed by Giuseppe Verdi.

Other highlights included senior chorale members singing the song, “Heartland,” composed by Gary Fry, and the Tremper orchestra’s performance of selections from pop artist Bruno Mars.

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