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Pomp & Circumstance: 142 Bulldogs celebrate receiving their diplomas

Lauren BrantMay 20, 2019

As families made their way into the Cougar Palace on the Western Nebraska Community College campus, 142 Gering High School seniors lined up in The Pit dressed in their caps and gowns, waiting to walk out for their commencement ceremony Sunday.

With the help of teachers, the graduates straightened their caps and headed into Cougar Palace with smiles on their faces.

For Hayley Allen, the day signified the ending of a journey as she prepares to attend Chadron State College in the fall.

“It feels great,” Allen said. “I wouldn’t want to graduate from any other school.”

During the ceremony, the class learned how over 90 graduates received scholarships to pursue a higher education, totaling $2.9 million.

While the students soaked up their last moments of high school with their classmates, Rachel Rawlings, one of the six valedictorians, encouraged her peers to break up with high school.

“There’s no way I could have gotten through these last four years and my relationship with high school without your help,” she said.

Once they received their diploma covers, the Class of 2019 celebrated the moment with a cap toss, a favorite of one senior.

“Time slowed down and it was just an awesome experience,” said Mary Newman. “I feel great and super excited for everything that’s about to happen.”

Fellow graduate Lauren Whaley agreed the cap toss was a special moment. Whaley also shared her thoughts on being a Gering alumna.

“It’s crazy to think about. You put so much work into it and it just seems like it never comes to an end,” she said. “This end is very exciting because there’s a lot of new changes that comes along with this part of our lives.”

As her classmates enter college or the workforce, Whaley said she wants them to “remember who they are and what they’ve learned and when they keep their priorities right and Christ first, then they’re going to have a great future.”

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