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Graduation Magic:

297 receive diplomas from Monticello High School

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297 receive diplomas from Monticello High School
2019 Monticello High School grad story pix

The 297 seniors at Monticello High School were preparing to enter the big, wide world of post-secondary education on Friday, May 31.

Then the 16 valedictorians of the Class of 2019 reminded the soon-to-be graduates that they just might not be ready for that brave new world.

Midway through the May 31 commencement ceremony at Monticello High School’s Memorial Stadium, the valedictorians joined each other on stage, and in honor of the Class of 2019, shared 19 things they still hadn’t learned to do despite an education that for many spanned from pre-school to 12th grade.

Valedictorian Jaxson Turner pointed out that he still couldn’t talk to girls. Myranda Turner, Ava Emmerich, and Erika Ley proved they still couldn’t whistle. The valedtorians shared that they struggled with dealing with stress, and doing math with fractions. Many can’t fix their car problems, others don’t know how to go to the library to check out a book. Queliste Grose demonstrated that she doesn’t have the ability to catch. Other valedictorians have a challenging drive. Group projects remain a challenge for the valedictorians. So does speaking the foreign languages they studied for at least two years during their high school years.

One skill that the students failed to master will problably get them further in life that not: they admitted that they never learned how to cheat.

Finding open bathrooms and reaching top shelves remain a challenge for the valedictorians. So is cooking for them-selves and engaging in small talk. Abigail Bartlett, Olivia Kanzler and Mackenzie Ackerman demononstate their lack of beining able to finish an email. In an email to Principal Mike Carr, the three were not completely satisfied with “Yours Truly”, “With Love”. It was “Go Out and be Amazing.” that the trio settled on in their email note to their principal.

Queliste Grose and Jack Smith showed that they can’t eat with chopsticks. The valedictorians struggle with doing laun-dry, and also struggle with knowing what the mitochondria is. (Most people struggle with knowing what the mitochon-dria is. (By the way...Mitochondria are the working organelles that keep the cell full of energy.) 

But it’s not what the Class of 2019 doesn’t know that’s important, Supt. Eric Olson said in his first-ever commence ad-dress to a Monticello graduating class.

It’s the character of the Class of 2019 that will take them places, Olson said.

“I have grown to known these students this year and absolutely adore them,” Olson said.

“I am proud to be standing in front of them,” he said.

Olson then encouraged people in attendance at the ceremony to “celebrate the unique moment” with what has become the first-year superintendent’s trademark salute: The Magic Clap.

“This group is truly magic to me,” Olson said.

“They come to school every day and make us proud. When you feel proud inside, there’s nothing like it,” he said.

Olson then offered three tips for the students to live by.

The first was to build a support system.

“You’ve had one all these years growing up to this point,” said Olson, who noted that the students are going to contin-ue to need the people in their community that have supported them through their lives so far. Those who have been their for support in the past will be as important s the people they will meet along their next journey.

Second, Olson encouraaged the students to develop a continuous growth mindset.

“It’s easy to think of change as hard and something unwanted,” Olson said. 

“But if you think of change as an opportunity to grow, you’ll do awesome in everything that comes your way,” he said.

Finally, Olson encouraged the students to be proud of who they are.

“You are absolutely trustworthy 17-, 18- and 19-year0olds and we couldn’t be more proud of you,” Olson said.

“Don’t forget who you are. You’re awesome people,” he said. I am proud of you and you have inspired me to be a bet-ter man every day.”

Monticello High School Principal Mike Carr presented the Class of 2019’s MHS honor students, Minnesota honor stu-dents, and student serving in the military after graduation. They all stood before family, friends, and fellow classmates to be honored for their academic accomplishments. 

That was followed by the Monticello High School Band treating those assembled to a medley of band members’ favorite musical pieces from 9th grade to 12th grade. 

Following the commencement addresses by Olson and the 16 valedictorians the Monticello High School Choir per-formed “I Have Had Singing.” The choir was under the direction of Nathan Herfindahl.

Principal Mike Carr presented the Class of 2019. 

The last student, in alphabetical order, to received her diploma, was Piper Zimmer-Gilman. Zimmerman-Gilman re-mained on stage and led her fellow graduates in moving the tassels on their graduation caps from right to left to signify the earning of a degree.

“Congratulations, Monticello Class of 2019!” Principal Mike Carr exclaimed.

As Director Brett Krohn led the high school band in “Fanfare and Recessional,” the Class of 2019 left Memorial Stadi-um as graduates of Monticello High School.

Reach Jeff Hage at



Jeff Hage is the editor of the Monticello Times newspaper in Monticello, Minn. He came to Monticello after seven years at our sister papers in Princeton and Milaca.

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