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Seniors: Voyageurs Expeditionary High School

Voyageurs Expeditionary High School will have 11 seniors walk at its commencement ceremony June 5.

Director Julie Johnson-Willborg said this year's graduating class is unique in that many of its seniors showed interest in the field of health care.

In fact, three seniors have completed courses in order to become certified nursing assistants through Northwest Technical College. Five seniors also completed one or more post-secondary education option classes at Bemidji State University or NTC.

"They are a caring bunch of kids," Johnson-Willborg said. "Some are planning to go into nursing. A lot of our kids don't see themselves moving far away from Bemidji and the heath care field has nice, well-paying jobs in this area."

While no seniors were available to speak because of time limitations, Johnson-Willborg said the seniors of 2010 have done "a tremendous amount of service to the community."

One senior took what she learned from her sewing class in ninth grade and, as a senior, hand-sewed a blanket and donated it to Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that donates blankets to children who are seriously ill or traumatized.

Cindy Nelson, a teacher at Voyageurs, said she has seen this year's senior class evolve from when they were freshmen.

"How great is that to have been a part of teaching them skills that has translated into them giving back to the community?" she asked.

Nelson said she feels the seniors will find success after high school.

"They've built other networks of support throughout their time at Voyageurs'," she said. "They've learned how to build close relationships with adults. I feel they can navigate easily in the adult world."

Johnson-Willborg said this year's graduating class was the first to deal with the high-stakes testing and the added pressure.

"It's been real tough for them," she said. "They are the group being held accountable under the MCA tests. It's a much higher level of testing."

The senior class will be traveling to Lake Itasca State Park for their final day of class.

Voyageurs' commencement ceremony will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday June 5, at Hagg-Sauer Hall, room 100, at BSU. Also included in the event will be a YouthBuild recognition ceremony.