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Looking ahead to a bright future

A sea of purple caps and gowns filled the high school gymnasium as friends and family members cheered on the graduates from the bleachers. (Republican Eagle photos by Michael Brun)1 / 2
The mood was decidedly festive Friday as the Red Wing High School class of 2013 received their diplomas.2 / 2

Dreary weather moved the festivities into the gymnasium, but gray skies couldn't dampen spirits Friday night for close to 200 Red Wing High School seniors participating in the school's 138th annual commencement exercise.

The crowd was all smiles -- and a few tears -- as parents, teachers and friends congratulated graduates with handshakes and hugs before the ceremony.

"We have done a lot of thinking and working to get to this point," said student Kristen Anderson in a farewell speech titled "Do What's Right."

"Be kind and respectful to people you meet," she said to her fellow classmates. "Take Minnesota nice with you."

Teacher Kraig Ulveling started his address by asking the graduates to give each other high-fives for their accomplishment. He urged them to take charge of their future through hard work and resilience.

"It's your future, and it's going to be your job to make it work," Ulveling said.

He imparted two bits of wisdom passed on from his father: "Treat people like you want to be treated, and good things happen to people who work hard."

"You're the reason I love this job," he said before ending his speech, to which the graduates responded with a standing ovation.

Grant Knott gave the second student speech, calling on his classmates to continue their education through life experiences.

"Each of us still has one class left to take: Life 101," Knott said. "The classroom isn't limited to one room or building; it's all around us."

"Luckily for all of us," he concluded, "life is a group project."

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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