Red and white streamers rained down on Coon Rapids High School’s newest graduates June 3 at the 3M Arena at Mariucci on the University of Minnesota,Twin Cities, campus.

The Class of 2018 comprises 450 students who join the ranks of more than 100,000 Anoka-Hennepin School District alumni.

Makenda Tadesse and Ashley Tilke addressed their fellow graduates during commencement exercises.

Tadesse encouraged her peers to chase peace instead of happiness and to live meaningfully.

“Become who you want to look up to. Stare fear and apprehension in the eyes and grow. Defy the odds,” she said.

Tilke reflected on the class’s journey together the last four years.

“The journey has been long, but every step leading up to this moment was worth it because in the end, we made it,” she said. “Get out there, and show that Cardinal pride.”

After a performance by the Raven Street Project choral ensemble, Superintendent David Law, a Coon Rapids High School alumnus himself, congratulated both parents and students on reaching the milestone of graduation.

Law encouraged students to make the choices they know will best serve them.

“None of you should feel limited,” he said.

Students collected their diplomas, sang the school song together one last time, and stepped into the afternoon sun to celebrate with family and friends.

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