Empowering all students to become learners and leaders in a diverse and dynamic world — it is the mission of the Flandreau Public School District. Senior Class President Isabella (Bella) Pavlis this past weekend thanked the school and the community for doing just that with the Class of 2022.
“Usually, there are just a few people that kind of do everything, maybe 5-10 that are athletes or in the plays or the top of their class. But I think everyone in our grade has a different quality that adds to our community,” Pavlis told the Moody County Enterprise. “And I feel they will keep adding to our community.”
Pavlis addressed her 34 classmates, their families and the community during this past Saturday’s graduation ceremonies for FPS. The day was beautiful — bright, sunny, and full of promise after what she described as a trying past four years.
“Our freshman year, we lost someone in the grade above us. We just kind of watched the school shut down…it was a scary thing to go through. But we fought through that and came back our sophomore year. And then we got all the things taken away from us our sophomore year with COVID, taken away from each other, and just sent home.”
She told her class she was super proud of all of them for fighting through it. And then she proceeded to brag on nearly all of them for their individual accomplishments and talents — from academics to theater, music and sports, even volunteering as firefighters, learning about policing or driving ambulance, they are all talents and skills she believes were enhanced as a result of so much time away from each other during the pandemic.
“My grade is so smart with cars and farming. I’ll just be sitting in class and trying to follow the conversation, and I think I’m smart but oh my gosh, some of the terms that get thrown out, I cannot follow. I know we’re going to have amazing engineers and farmers someday in our community. We have Caleb who runs his own business and you hear about it every day from him, which is super amazing that he’s running his own business. I know it’s just going to take off from here when he has more time. Our grade started Hope Squad. We have Austin Kulm who is literally the best trombonist in the Midwest. This man is crazy on trombone and guitar, his singing, I hope he never gives it up. We have Keva who is literally going Ivy League. It’s amazing. Fernando, it’s amazing to see how far he’s come in his speaking ability, to go through high school with that challenge is amazing. There are so many other things that I want to say about our grade…”
Pavlis’ thoughts paralleled Owen Parsley’s, who gave the Commencement Address. The FHS teacher offered insight and reminders about how life often gets worse - bills to pay, challenging jobs, challenging relationships and more. But then it will get better.
“Some people think that high school or college is the pinnacle of life, but that’s not true. You will go from here, make new friends, accomplish great feats, explore new places, hopefully get married, start a family, and impact the community around you,” Parsley offered the graduates. “Speaking on behalf of this school and community, we are very proud of your accomplishments and that we had such a great class like all of you, class of 2022. God be with you in the days ahead. You’ve passed this test and will continue to be tested. So with that… Good luck on your test, give it your best, and may it be blest.”