GREAT FALLS – 264 Rustlers moved their graduation hat tassels from one side to the other on Friday evening.
The C. M. Russell (CMR) High School Graduation Ceremony began with remarks from Jayson Ingalls, the student body president, and Principal Kerry Parsons.
“Our class motto is ‘We will be heard. We will be seen. We are the Class of 2019,’” Ingalls said. “Class of 2019, we are just getting started.”
The class address was then given by senior Carly Cushman, who reflected all the way back to her class’s first day of kindergarten.
The outgoing seniors received honors and concentration diplomas, a unique aspect of the certification offered to graduates of Great Falls Public Schools (GFPS). Members of the National Honor Society and students with GPAs higher than 3.5 were also recognized.
CMR math teacher of 36 years Terry Dahl received the Dufresne Foundation Award, an annual decoration voted on by both students and faculty. One teacher is honored every year for outstanding teaching, extracurricular involvement and contributions to Great Falls community.
Student Harley Clifton received the Golden Flame Award. According to the school’s handbook, the Golden Flame Award is “the most prestigious award given to a graduating senior […] recogniz[ing] a senior who has made contributions to CMR High School that will have a lasting impact after the class has moved on.”
Tammy Lacey, the retiring GFPS superintendent, presented the Class of 2019 — as is tradition. It was the last time of doing so for the longtime CMR graduate.
The GFPS Board of Trustees presented students with their diplomas, and the CMR Symphonic Band, under the direction of Chris Kloker, provided music for the processional and recessional.
Following Friday’s ceremony, the total number of CMR graduates since its founding in 1965 grew to 22,251.