A beautiful Sunday afternoon set the stage for St. James seniors, who began the festivities as students and walked out as graduates.

The class of 2019 graduates with plenty of distinguishments, with 22 students graduating with honors, eight graduating with a Presidential Academic Award, and 20 graduating with a National Honor Society chord.

Others received recognition with a Senior Activity Award plaque, handed out to those who earned three letters in two or more activities during their high school career. Those award recipients are:

Anthony Almendariz, Luis Enrique Almendariz, Zoie Becker, Jacob Brey, Amber Carlson, Noemi Castaneda, Danielle Chapin, Sara Craig, Lucas Doll, Cole Durheim, Mason Firchau, Olivia Fredin, Miriam Garcia, Kennedy Gertsema, Peyton Hanson, Hailey Harbitz, Chantel Henderson, Renata Hernandez, Lee Hillesheim, Landon Hoppe, Parker Jones, Alex Knickrehm, Samuel Kulseth, Rachel Lang, Mariah Leimer, Hannah Loewen, Caleb Lorenz, Kobe Mohwinkel, Guadalupe Moriel, Faith Mortenson, Daniel Olson, Maci Pauling, Grace Piercy, William Rehm, Aaron Rodriguez, Blanca Rodriguez Rivera, Isaiah Rodriguez, Jasmine Rodriguez, Johana Rodriguez, Jovana Rodriguez, Nancy Sanchez, Zachary Schmitz, Carlos Josue Solorzano, Ethan Sykes, Noah Sykes, Miranda Tetzloff, Kaitlyn Urban, Trey Witcraft, and Allison Wolle

Valedictorian and Commencement speaker Hannah Loewen noted that the class of 2019 “had a reputation with being a tough class”, but by the end of their time in St. James schools, had turned that reputation around into something positive, as seen by their high level of awards and honors.

Principal Karla Beck touched upon the class’ accomplishments in activities, with state tournament participants in girls tennis, both individually and as a team, the boys cross country team, wrestling, boys basketball’s deep run into the playoffs, softball’s playoff run, and individual state qualifiers in track and field and boys tennis. Beck also noted the successes of the Fine Arts programs, with band and choir posting their highest scores in competition.

While the class of 2019 may have closed the books on their high school experience, their stories are far from over, as they venture out into college, the workforce, or the military.