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A day of many 'lasts'

Carter Northey gives the senior speech, "The Many Hats of an Eskomo," during Esko High School commencement. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal1 / 5
Esko teachers line the hallway as students pass through on their way to the graduation ceremony Friday, June 1. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal2 / 5
Esko seniors walk past a packed audience of friends and families Friday, June 1, as they took their place at the front of the room. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal3 / 5
Twin brothers Carter, left, and Tyler Northey pose for after graduation photos with relatives. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal4 / 5
Matthew Johnson gives his senior speech: "We Are ..." as his classmates behind him react. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal5 / 5

Find yourself, know yourself and be yourself. That was advice Esko High School Principal Greg Hexum gave the senior class as he prepared to send them out the school doors for the last time.

The last two area schools said goodbye to their seniors last week.

Barnum and Esko both had their graduation ceremonies Friday, June 1, while the majority of local schools held their commencements the previous week.

The Esko seniors met in the theater before walking to the gym down the hallway lined with cheering teachers.

As students walked past the teachers, they clapped enthusiastically and shook hands or even hugged a few of the students. When the line of students ended, the teachers fell into line behind them and into the gym.

The concert band played the traditional "Pomp and Circumstance" as the students walked through the packed gym. Friends and families cheered and woohooed as their student walked by and took their place on the risers.

Senior speeches were given by Raeanna Sayovitz, Carter Northey and Matthew Johnson amid smiles and chuckles from their fellow students.

The seniors sang in their final choir performances as high school students, while the senior band students played their instruments one last time.

Hexum presented the class of 2018, praising many accomplishments without naming individual students.

He told of a girl who quietly attended classes at a school for art and design and a talented senior male singer. He spoke of a student who had to stop playing hockey and then played four percussion instruments instead.

"Make the most of your opportunities," Hexum told the graduating class.

The 96 students moved quickly through the line as they finally received their coveted diplomas after spending an estimated 20,000 hours at school over the years.