Class of 2017 Wingers leave the nest

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Several key ingredients made for a traditional commencement ceremony Friday evening at Red Wing High School: a crowded Sonju Gymnasium, the flowing "Pomp and Circumstance" melody and anxious graduates donning royal purple caps and gowns.

Audrey Cashmore delivered a "recipe for life" to her fellow graduates, citing her first ingredient as kindness.

"Kindness has the power to change the world. One caveat, though, is that kindness has to be done out of the goodness of one's heart, done because one strives to be a good person, not for the accolades or recognition one might receive," Cashmore said.

To illustrate her second ingredient, altruism, Cashmore passed out homemade chocolate chip cookies to her classmates, a favorite tradition of hers.

"Doing something without expectations of what you'll get in return makes the whole experience of giving so much more enjoyable for all parties involved," Cashmore said. "I believe that is the beauty in selfless acts."

The Winger graduate will be attending East Carolina University in Greenville, N. C.

With the final two ingredients of mindfulness and love, Cashmore left her peers with a call to action.

"Love your neighbor, love your family, love your friends, and love yourself. I beg you to open your mind to all the possibilities that others hold, to renew that friendship you miss, and to lend a helping hand," she said.

David Howe also addressed the graduates, leading off the sweet theme.

"Cream always rises to the top," Howe said, recalling a frequent quote of industrial tech teacher John Jones. "But how does cream rise to the top?"

Howe told his peers that their experiences at Red Wing High School helped shape them for what the future holds.

"The force of having to get work done on time, pressure from our peers to succeed and all the time spent with classmates over the last five years has changed us a lot," Howe said. "Along the way we established a work ethic, have become more outgoing, and gained close friendships."

Howe was granted admission into all five United States Military Academies. He accepted an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"Give of your talents and gifts to nourish the community around you," he said. "Use the knowledge, work ethic, friendships, and social skills gained to become the best doctor, teacher, soldier, lawyer, or whatever you want to be."

The ceremony concluded with the time-honored mortarboard cap toss, accompanied by the cheers of a new class of Winger alumni.