Great Falls High School Graduates Celebrate Debut at ExpoPark
High school graduation ceremonies took place Sunday and Monday in the Montana ExpoPark 4-season zone. More than 600 students were honored during the three ceremonies.
Speeches at the three Great Falls public school ceremonies recognized that all graduates of Great Falls High, CM Russell High and Paris Gibson Education Center have succeeded despite the challenges presented during the pandemic.
“After everything we’ve been through last year, we can finally celebrate something in person,” said Superintendent Tom Moore. “And these are the important accomplishments of all of you.”
At the opening ceremony of the Paris Gibson Education Center on Sunday, speakers included former graduate Kelsey Brewster-Carver, current graduate Kelsoe Rupnow and future graduate Kaylee Stremcha.
Rupnow won the Pride of Paris Award and the Principal’s Award went to graduate Avery Debrae. The Gary W. Lankford Memorial Award was presented to Xianghua Trombley for her work ethic and determination as a participant in the interTRIBAL immersion program.
Speakers at Sunday’s Great Falls High School graduation ceremony included Principal’s Award winner Hallie Thompson and student body president Alysa Curry. The Dufresne Prize, awarded to an exceptional educator, was awarded to English teacher Cindy Duffy. Two of her grandchildren gave her a vase of flowers before she began her remarks.
The students were given the opportunity to donate to a charity before crossing the stage and it was announced that they had voted for the charity to be Special Olympics of Montana.
The CM Russell High School graduation ceremony included a class speech by Senior Class President Madison George. Director Kerry Parsons received the Dufresne Foundation award, recognizing him as an exemplary educator. The Golden Flame Award, bestowed on a student for academic excellence, went to Noah Riley Hollenback, who will be attending Notre Dame University to pursue engineering studies.
Parsons also took a moment to recognize the only foreign exchange student in the final year class who came from France to study for a year here. She announced her return to France and her intention to study art history while continuing her studies.
Each ceremony paid tribute to service members in attendance and graduates who chose to enlist as the celebrations took place over Memorial Day weekend.
Nicole Girten is a government watch reporter for the Great Falls Tribune. You can email him at [email protected]. To support coverage of Great Falls and Cascade County, subscribe to the Tribune by clicking the “Subscribe” link at the top of the page.