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Diplomas in Hand, Nome Grads Tasked with ‘Positive Change’

NBHS Class of 2018 Graduation
The Class of 2018 graduates from NBHS beneath a shower of balloons. Photo: Karen Trop/KNOM.

Last night, 37 Nome Beltz seniors walked across the stage to collect their high school diplomas.

Principal Jon Berkeley certified the class of 2018 as high school graduates in front of a crowd of supporters.

“Okay, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the graduated class of 2018!”

The Class of 2018 produced two Salutatorians, Katherine Scott and John Wade, as well as two Valedictorians, Harrison Moore and Katie Kelso. Each student gave their own addresses to their supporters touching on themes of acceptance, growth, and perseverance – drawing inspiration from their own academic struggles as well as successes.

A show of emotion at the 2018 Nome-Beltz High School Graduation Ceremony.
A show of emotion during the procession of graduates at the 2018 NBHS Graduation Ceremony. Photo: Karen Trop/KNOM.

19 of Nome Beltz’s most recent alumni will attend college in the fall, 12 will be entering the workforce, and four will attend the Alaska Job Corps, a federal vocational training program. At total of $191,625 was awarded to 21 individual students through scholarships from 27 regional organizations.

As the evening progressed, many speakers touched on their appreciation for community support. As Kelly Thrun spoke to her former Kindergarten pupils in a commencement address, she used berry picking as a metaphor to convey wisdom she learned as a Nanook alumna and current educator. One anecdote Thrun shared was about a child who placed moss at the bottom of their bucket so they could finish faster and play sooner. Thrun advised students to avoid taking shortcuts in this manner, and to visualize their own success through hard work, just like in berry-picking.

A Class of 2018 NBHS Graduate wears mukluks with his robes.
A Class of 2018 NBHS Graduate wears mukluks with his robes. Photo: Karen Trop/KNOM.

Along with the Class of 2018, Nome says farewell to several Nome Public Schools’ employees who participated in last night’s ceremony.

For one final time, Music Director Ron Horner conducted the Nome-Beltz Band and Choir during the program’s musical interludes. He retires at the close of the school year after nineteen years working for Nome Public Schools.

Music Teacher Ron Horner introduces the world premiere of "Between the Tundra and the Sky."
File photo: Music Teacher Ron Horner introduces “Between the Tundra and the Sky,” composed by Stephen Lias, for its world premiere in Nome in May 2017. Photo: Karen Trop/KNOM.

In his opening remarks, Superintendent Shawn Arnold expressed his gratitude for the chance to see the Class of 2018 grow from freshmen to seniors. Starting on July 1st, Bill Schildbach is set to replace Arnold as head of the school district.

During his commencement address, departing Nome-Beltz Assistant Principal Lucas Frost challenged graduates to be active participants in their community.

“And now is the time for you – as eighteen- or nineteen-year olds – to do something about it… Don’t be part of the problem, be a part of the solution. Let your actions and your voice be the vehicle that drives positive, reasonable change.”

Both Arnold and Frost announced their resignation from their respective roles in February.

After being officially declared Nanook alumni, the Class of 2018 ended the evening by flinging their caps into the air as a shower of blue and white balloons descended into the crowd.

Image at Top: The Class of 2018 graduates from NBHS beneath a shower of balloons. Photo: Karen Trop/KNOM.

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