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BHS Class of 2012 celebrates with commencement

Bemidji High School graduates (left to right) Benjamin Schreiber, Kole Spencer and McKenzie Timms wait to get on the stage and receive their diplomas Saturday morning at the Sanford Center. Brian matthews | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI- The Bemidji High School class of 2012 celebrated Saturday morning at the Sanford Center, walking across the stage to receive their diplomas, embracing change and anticipating the beautiful uncertainty to come.

"Just like the toys (in Pixar's Toy Story) had the choice to stay in the attic together or venture off into the unknown world of daycare, we too are faced with a choice," BHS graduate Leah Larson said. "We can stay here in our familiar world, comfortable and knowing what to expect or we can go out and explore the world."

Larson's commencement speech titled, "Embrace Change" focused on the change that each of the 317 graduates are going to go through in the coming months as their time at the high school is over and the familiar faces will soon be replaced by new ones.

Larson quoted Mahatma Gandhi who said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Larson said she hopes graduates will speak up for what they believe in.

"As I look out onto our class I see hundreds of remarkable, interesting and unique individuals who have accomplished many amazing things," Larson said. "As Lotso said in Toy Story, 'you have to play with destiny.'"

Senior Paul Enger stayed humble in his speech, admitting to students that he was unable to find a piece of inner wisdom to share.

"When I think about the future I feel like I am driving a car straight into the great wide world and I don't even have a map to guide my way," Enger said. "That's scary and I would be lying if I said that I wasn't afraid."

Though he is scared, he said he has faith that if people take the leap of faith they will have success.

"Today I am glad that I don't know what is at the bottom of that canyon because if I did I might be too scared to make the leap of faith," Enger said. "If no one took that leap of faith what would the world look like? It would be much less beautiful because everything that is truly beautiful in this world; every painting, every novel, every movie (and) every song, they all required a leap of faith."