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Local students prepare for high school graduation

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BEMIDJI - It's a time of celebration and moving on.

It's a milestone that everyone hopes to celebrate at some point in their lives - high school graduation.

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For three local students, it'll be the last time they set foot in their respective high schools before heading out into the world on very different paths.

Zachary Hewitt will wrap up this step in his traditional education as he graduates from Bemidji High School and continues his schooling here in the Midwest.

Kaija Roy, who was homeschooled for grades K-6, will graduate from TrekNorth Senior High School and head to the East Coast to continue her education.

And Lance Day, a former high school drop-out, will use his diploma here in Bemidji as he enters the workforce.

During the next two weekends, Hewitt, Roy and Day will be three of more than 350 local students who will celebrate their high school graduation from local high schools.

Bemidji High School

Bemidji High School will hold its commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday at The Sanford Center to celebrate its 317 graduating students.

BHS Principal Brian Stefanich said the class has had many highlights during the last four years. Some of those highlights include:

E 160 seniors took 433 courses through Bemidji State University

E 150 seniors took 481 Advanced Placement courses

E 55 students took pre-engineering courses through the University of Minnesota

E 55 students will graduate with honors

One of those outstanding seniors is 18-year-old Zachary Hewitt, who was recently named a National Merit college-sponsored scholarship winner.

Hewitt said he found out about the National Merit scholarship about a month ago.

"I was kind of expecting (to be named a finalist), because after being a semifinalist there's a high rate of being a finalist," Hewitt said. "But I didn't know I would actually get a scholarship, so it all paid off after everything I had to do for the application."

Throughout high school, Hewitt kept busy with a varied list of activities including Math League, Knowledge Bowl, skiing, tennis, marching band and pit orchestra.

Hewitt managed to balance his extra-curricular activities with six AP courses during the last three years.

"I just did whatever was going on after school and then knew when I got home, I had to do my homework," Hewitt said.

While he may be wrapping up his high school education, Hewitt said there are certain lessons he'll take with him to college.

"Always have fun," Hewitt said. "Don't let all your work get in the way of being happy and content with your life."

Hewitt will attend Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, to major in aerospace engineering.

TrekNorth

TrekNorth Senior High School will hold its commencement ceremony for 21 students at 6:30 tonight at Hagg-Sauer Hall on the Bemidji State University campus.

Kaija Roy, 18, pushed herself to succeed throughout high school, and, she said, it paid off.

"My parents told me from the very beginning that I had to pay for college myself," Roy said. "So I decided the easiest way to do that is through scholarships."

Roy stayed busy in high school by participating in cross country running and skiing, student council, Poetry Out Loud, community theater, Bemidji Youth Advisory Commission, Envirothon and National Honor Society.

"With theater and Envirothon, I enjoy performing and working hard at something that starts out really rough and then perfecting it," Roy said. "But then with student council and the advisory, if I see something I don't like and think needs to be changed, I like being in a position to make it happen."

During the last five years, Roy took nine AP courses, taking the first class in eighth grade.

"I took AP courses so I don't have to take the course in college," Roy said. "I like the challenge. I don't feel like I'm just doing busy work. You actually have to prepare for the exams."

As Roy prepares to head to the East Coast for college, she said she'll take life lessons she learned in high school with her.

"Always believe in yourself," Roy said. "This school is really good at encouraging you to try new things and then support you along the way. It helps you gain confidence in yourself."

Roy will attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass., to major in environmental engineering.

Voyageurs

Voyageurs Expeditionary High School will hold its commencement ceremony at 6 p.m. June 1 at Hagg-Sauer Hall to celebrate its 21 graduating students.

VEHS also provides the education component to the Bi-County Community Action Programs' YouthBuild program, aimed at students 16-24 years old who dropped out of high school but decided they would like to earn a diploma.

At least half of VEHS' students will continue their education at a college or technical school.

Lance Day, 22, is a student at VEHS through the YouthBuild program.

Day dropped out of high school at age 18.

"I dropped out because it was boring," Day said. "I had a lot of credits to go so I was nowhere close to graduating."

For more than three years, Day said he struggled to make ends meet.

"I had applied for a lot of jobs, but since I didn't have a diploma, no one ever called me back," Day said.

Day enrolled in the YouthBuild program Aug. 1, 2011, to help him earn his diploma. Day said the lack of job offers was a motivating factor for him to go back and finish his high school education.

"They've helped me get on my feet for the first time," Day said. "It's like a big family, who are always there to support you."

YouthBuild and VEHS have helped Day shape goals for his future.

"I'll hopefully get a better paying job now that I have a diploma and stay afloat," Day said.

Day's plans for post-graduation are to apply for a construction job in the Bemidji area.

BEMIDJI - It's a time of celebration and moving on.

It's a milestone that everyone hopes to celebrate at some point in their lives - high school graduation.

For three local students, it'll be the last time they set foot in their respective high schools before heading out into the world on very different paths.

Zachary Hewitt will wrap up this step in his traditional education as he graduates from Bemidji High School and continues his schooling here in the Midwest.

Kaija Roy, who was homeschooled for grades K-6, will graduate from TrekNorth Senior High School and head to the East Coast to continue her education.

And Lance Day, a former high school drop-out, will use his diploma here in Bemidji as he enters the workforce.

During the next two weekends, Hewitt, Roy and Day will be three of more than 350 local students who will celebrate their high school graduation from local high schools.

Bemidji High School

Bemidji High School will hold its commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday at The Sanford Center to celebrate its 317 graduating students.

BHS Principal Brian Stefanich said the class has had many highlights during the last four years. Some of those highlights include:

- 160 seniors took 433 courses through Bemidji State University

- 150 seniors took 481 Advanced Placement courses

- 55 students took pre-engineering courses through the University of Minnesota

- 55 students will graduate with honors

One of those outstanding seniors is 18-year-old Zachary Hewitt, who was recently named a National Merit college-sponsored scholarship winner.

Hewitt said he found out about the National Merit scholarship about a month ago.

"I was kind of expecting (to be named a finalist), because after being a semifinalist there's a high rate of being a finalist," Hewitt said. "But I didn't know I would actually get a scholarship, so it all paid off after everything I had to do for the application."

Throughout high school, Hewitt kept busy with a varied list of activities including Math League, Knowledge Bowl, skiing, tennis, marching band and pit orchestra.

Hewitt managed to balance his extra-curricular activities with six AP courses during the last three years.

"I just did whatever was going on after school and then knew when I got home, I had to do my homework," Hewitt said.

While he may be wrapping up his high school education, Hewitt said there are certain lessons he'll take with him to college.

"Always have fun," Hewitt said. "Don't let all your work get in the way of being happy and content with your life."

Hewitt will attend Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, to major in aerospace engineering.

TrekNorth

TrekNorth Senior High School will hold its commencement ceremony for 21 students at 6:30 tonight at Hagg-Sauer Hall on the Bemidji State University campus.

Kaija Roy, 18, pushed herself to succeed throughout high school, and, she said, it paid off.

"My parents told me from the very beginning that I had to pay for college myself," Roy said. "So I decided the easiest way to do that is through scholarships."

Roy stayed busy in high school by participating in cross country running and skiing, student council, Poetry Out Loud, community theater, Bemidji Youth Advisory Commission, Envirothon and National Honor Society.

"With theater and Envirothon, I enjoy performing and working hard at something that starts out really rough and then perfecting it," Roy said. "But then with student council and the advisory, if I see something I don't like and think needs to be changed, I like being in a position to make it happen."

During the last five years, Roy took nine AP courses, taking the first class in eighth grade.

"I took AP courses so I don't have to take the course in college," Roy said. "I like the challenge. I don't feel like I'm just doing busy work. You actually have to prepare for the exams."

As Roy prepares to head to the East Coast for college, she said she'll take life lessons she learned in high school with her.

"Always believe in yourself," Roy said. "This school is really good at encouraging you to try new things and then support you along the way. It helps you gain confidence in yourself."

Roy will attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass., to major in environmental engineering.

Voyageurs

Voyageurs Expeditionary High School will hold its commencement ceremony at 6 p.m. June 1 at Hagg-Sauer Hall to celebrate its 21 graduating students.

VEHS also provides the education component to the Bi-County Community Action Programs' YouthBuild program, aimed at students 16-24 years old who dropped out of high school but decided they would like to earn a diploma.

At least half of VEHS' students will continue their education at a college or technical school.

Lance Day, 22, is a student at VEHS through the YouthBuild program.

Day dropped out of high school at age 18.

"I dropped out because it was boring," Day said. "I had a lot of credits to go so I was nowhere close to graduating."

For more than three years, Day said he struggled to make ends meet.

"I had applied for a lot of jobs, but since I didn't have a diploma, no one ever called me back," Day said.

Day enrolled in the YouthBuild program Aug. 1, 2011, to help him earn his diploma. Day said the lack of job offers was a motivating factor for him to go back and finish his high school education.

"They've helped me get on my feet for the first time," Day said. "It's like a big family, who are always there to support you."

YouthBuild and VEHS have helped Day shape goals for his future.

"I'll hopefully get a better paying job now that I have a diploma and stay afloat," Day said.

Day's plans for post-graduation are to apply for a construction job in the Bemidji area.

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