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Seniors: TrekNorth Junior & Senor High School

Today, 28 seniors from TrekNorth Junior & Senior High School will graduate.

The seniors who were interviewed from TrekNorth had similar answers when asked what they will miss the most after graduating from high school - the people.

"The teachers and staff here are outstanding," said Chase Wroe. "I really think they have more interest in who you are as a person than in the material they are teaching."

"I will definitely miss seeing the people," said Amber Armstrong. "It's going to be hard not seeing them as often."

"I'll miss the community here," said Kimberley McDonald.

Throughout their academic career at TrekNorth, seniors took an array of classes.

Dylan Carlson said his favorite class was environmental chemistry, and he found advanced placement biology to be particularly challenging. For McDonald, while she said math was her strong suit, her most challenging class was advanced placement calculus. Michelle Mountain, who will be performing on piano at commencement, said she enjoyed varsity choir the most.

This summer, Wroe said he plans to move to Vermont and work as a sustainable agriculture farmer. Armstrong said she will be working in the Twin Cities to prepare for attending Carlton College in the fall.

"I would like to go into science research or become a professor someday," she said. "I'm looking forward to a new stage in my life."

Carlson said he will work this summer and attend Bemidji State University in the fall, though he's still a little unsure of what he wants to major in.

McDonald said she will attend the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

"Going from a small town to a big city - I'm a little scared about that," she said.

McDonald said she hopes to take a few online courses through the university this summer to get a head start.

Mountain said she plans on working and finding an apartment this summer. She said she hopes to study music and become a message therapist in the future.

Erica Harmsen, a teacher and co-senior advisor at TrekNorth, said this year's seniors have been especially tolerant of underclassmen because as ninth-graders, they started at the same time as the first seventh and eighth grade classes at TrekNorth.

Harmsen said many of the seniors are very musical and she's been impressed as to how many seniors showed personal growth.

"This class is the first time we've seen such a change from when they were ninth-graders to 12th-graders," Harmsen said. "They've really blossomed into their own with dreams and goals and really caring about their education."

She said some seniors have told her it will be hard to leave TrekNorth.

"I think they connected with staff and other students because they were free to be who they wanted to be," Harmsen said. "It's scary having to leave their comfort zone."

However, Harmsen said, she has received feedback from TrekNorth alumni who have been excited to tell her the new classes they took in college and about their new experiences.

Alison Drietz-McKeon, student support coordinator at TrekNorth, said one of the challenges teachers and staff face with seniors is making sure they meet the higher education requirements of TrekNorth in order to graduate.

"For some kids, getting them to fill out a college application can be frustrating," she said. "I hear from students all the time who think they can't go to school because it's going to cost a lot of money and they don't want to be in debt."

Harmsen said this year's graduating class is very dedicated, kind and hard working.

"A lot of them have dealt with hardships, and they've risen above," she said. "I think they'll continue to rise above whatever life brings them."

The class of 2010 at TrekNorth chose "On My Way," by Rusted Root as their class song, and black and green as their class colors.

Their commencement ceremony will be 6:30 p.m. today, May 28, at Hagg-Sauer Hall, room 100, at BSU.