WRLHS graduation focuses on close ties, Jesus

‘You will always be a part of our family,’ principal says
By: 
Warren Bluhm
News Editor

The small size of the Wolf River Lutheran High School Class of 2024 meant that each graduate could be given special attention during the private school’s May 17 commencement ceremony.

Nine seniors walked across the stage in the school gymnasium to accept their diplomas. Principal Shellie Kosmerchock had time to congratulate and share positive thoughts about each of them individually .

“You will always be a Silver Eagle. You will always be a part of our family,” Kosmerchock told the graduates. “May you carry the light of Christ wherever you go, illuminating the world with love, compassion and grace.”

Pastor Michael Paholke led the opening prayer and shared devotional thoughts from the book of Ecclesiastes. He told the seniors he graduated from Gillett High School 49 years ago.

“My goals certainly have changed since then. Back then I would have never dreamed that I would be a pastor,” Paholke said. “But you never know where God will lead you in your life.”

He encouraged them to include their Lord as they establish their future goals in life.

“Too many people set goals without Jesus in their life,” Paholke said.

Salutatorian Isaac Young said he was honored to have spent the last two years at Wolf River Lutheran after being homeschooled. He credited the individual attention of the faculty for aiding his success.

“Within the first few months of high school, Mr. (Jonathan) Berkesch discovered that I like to grow plants,” Young said. “Fast forward to last spring when we had horticulture class and a working greenhouse filled with hundreds of beautiful seedlings.”

He said he treasures the friendships formed with his classmates.

“I can honestly say I have the best friends in the world,” Your said. “I think I speak for all of us when I say we’re graduating not just with, but because of one another.”

Valedictorian Luke Hammond compared graduation day to the starting line of a race as well as a finish line.

“Let us view this moment not as an end, but as a new beginning,” Hammond said. “The starting line of our journey and the endless possibilities that lie ahead, for our race has only started.”

He called on the class of 2024 to forward diligently “never forgetting where we came from.”

The main commencement speaker, retired teacher Ralph Beversdorf, encouraged the graduates to keep learning.

“More than anything else, from now on, you’re in control of your destiny. You’re adults now!” Beversdorf said. “You get to make your decisions as an adult.”

He quoted several famous figures like Albert Einstein, who said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

His took his central theme from poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Beversdorf urged the grads to take Emerson’s words to heart.

“Compassion means sympathy and sadness for those who are suffering and not wanting them to suffer alone — and wanting to help,” he said, noting that the apostle Paul called upon Christians in his letter to the Galatians to “carry each other’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

wbluhm@newmedia-wi.com