In 1997 I covered my first Redwood Valley High School graduation ceremony, and with the exception of the year my Naomi graduated, I have not missed seeing the local senior class receive their diplomas at the end of their high-school days.

Each class that has graduated has been different from the others, and that is certainly the case with the RVHS Class of 2019.

As I have thought about this year’s seniors, I am willing to admit there is a lot about them that I am going to miss.

I will miss hearing Mara Lund’s voice and watching Lydia Rigge play the violin.

I will miss the many conversations that have been had over the years with Deon Estebo.

I will miss seeing Matthew Lindbo in the hallways, because there has never been a time since I first met him that he has not greeted me with a smile on his face. (Corey Diekmann and Connor Thordson would also fall into this category, and I will miss them, too.)

I will miss watching Brian Bucholz on the stage and Cole Woodford on the court.

I will miss DJ Jacobson singing about the presidents at the talent show, and will miss hearing stories about the interactions in band between my Amos and Logan Prouty.

I was able to get to know some of you seniors a little bit for the first time this year, and following those brief interactions with you I have thought to myself how much I would have liked to get to know you a little better.

Many of you have seen struggles during the four years of high school, and while I may not have vocalized it to you I wept with you.

I have enjoyed being able to let others know about your successes, and even though as a journalist I am supposed to remain unbiased know that when you celebrated I celebrated right there with you.

After this Sunday there are some of you I will never see again, and there are others I will continue to meet on the streets of Redwood Falls for many years to come.

As you move on to that next part of your life know that I will be thinking about all of you, because I know there will be good times and there will be hard times that you will face. The world is not always as kind as the people you have encountered here in your hometown.

So, remember, wherever you are for the rest of your life, you will always have a community that will stand behind you.

You will be missed but never forgotten.