Casper’s Roosevelt High reflects on hardships and successes

With pomp and ceremony, the Roosevelt High School graduating class clutched diplomas, moved the tassels from right to left and then hurled their caps into the rafters Friday at the Ford Event Center in Casper, as community members cheered from the stands proudly whistled and waved.

In most cases it was tradition as usual, but for many the ceremony was a moment to reflect on how relieved this class in particular is, not least because they began their high school studies in the midst of a pandemic frenzy.

“We were thrown into high school with face masks and fear. Extenuating circumstances, unexpected events and adversities brought our graduating class together, which was not what we expected, but exactly what we needed,” Student Body President Skylee Gangwish said at the event.

Gangwish and other students said Roosevelt’s unique learning environment allowed them to navigate the challenging era with confidence.

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Designated as an “alternative” high school with programs focused on smaller learning environments, the school stands out from its larger counterparts at Natrona County and Kelly Walsh high schools. The alternative curriculum focuses on peer interaction, socialization and rigorous academics, according to former principal Ron Estes, who spoke at the graduation ceremony.

For some, this environment was downright life-changing.

“The teachers and staff at the school make it feel like a family, people who you can tell care about your success and it’s a great feeling to prove to them that they are doing well,” says Jamison Rush, graduating senior. added that faculty members are the reason he decided to pursue a unique passion.

“I’m trying to become a professional wrestler, and I would never have thought about that if it wasn’t for my teachers here, especially Mr. Zimmer, our health teacher. I used to be unathletic and had no motivation for things like that. But it’s a great culture at the school and they turned me around and now I’m chasing my dreams.”

Rush plans to attend a professional wrestling academy in Denver, but first he will pursue an electrician’s degree at a trade school in Casper. His mother, Leah Rush, reflected on her son’s development with a sense of wonder and gratitude

“From middle school to high school, Jamison changed his eating habits. He works out every day, he meal plans, he’s lost 50 pounds and gained muscle mass, all thanks to one teacher at Roosevelt, and that’s Mr. Zimmer,” said Leah Rush with a bright smile on her face as she led Jamison along pulled in. a hug.

The kickoff was given by former faculty member and history teacher Susan Griffith, who warned graduates to be wary of the prevailing falsehoods in the digital age, and to participate vigilantly as citizens.

“Be careful, because in this age of conspiracies, fake news and artificial intelligence, you have to question people’s ideas.”; “We can make a difference. Register to vote and cast your vote. Don’t let someone else make decisions for you,” she said, closing the speech with the wisdom of a pop cultural legacy.

In this way the ceremony was in accordance

“Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, the beautiful words of Fleetwood Mac, don’t look back, look ahead.”

Rachael Drunker, student speaker who took the stage with an adorably shaggy service dog, offered another pop-cultural encouragement.

“As Yoda says, ‘Do or don’t. There is no trying.'”

Zakary Sonntag is an energy and environment reporter for the Star-Tribune. He can be reached at [email protected]

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