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Bethel Regional High School Class of 2024 looks to the future

On May 17, educators, friends, family members, and graduates of the Class of 2024 packed the Bethel Regional High School gymnasium for this year’s commencement.

Many of the 51 students who received their diplomas began their high school careers navigating remote learning amid a global pandemic and statewide school closures.

This year, six students walked away with associate’s degrees in hand, while a dozen graduated with Top Honors for maintaining 4.0 grade point averages (GPAs). One of these, Ellis Johnson, was selected by students to speak at the event.

“Someday must turn into today in order to find success in life,” Johnson said.

Graduate Paul Dyment also spoke, while long-time teacher Paul Saltzman delivered the keynote speech.

“Today you have the opportunity to decide who you will be. Will you be kind? Will you be honest? Will you be forgiving?” Saltzman asked.

Graduate Zachery Chase had the honor of coming up with a motto for this year’s commencement ceremony, which he talked about while greeting people after the event.

“Our senior group chat was asking for one, and it just came out and I sent it to my senior class group chat: If life throws you salmonberries, blueberries, or blackberries, make akutaq.” Chase said.

Also at the commencement, Bethel Regional High School Principal Alicia Miner thanked all 51 graduates individually by name, while Rep. Mary Peltola appeared in a prerecorded video.

“Please don’t take these connections to our community and our region’s past lightly,” Peltola said.

After receiving their diplomas and passing the tassels to the left side of their caps, there was one thing the Bethel graduates still needed to check off the list: a mass yuraq dance.

Evan Erickson is a reporter at KYUK who has previously worked as a copy editor, audio engineer and freelance journalist.
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