81 graduates receive diplomas Sunday

Wednesday, May 30, 2018
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The graduating Class of 2018 celebrates its final stage of commencement by throwing their hats in the air. This was the first time the graduates were able to personalize their hats (mortarboards) by decorating the flat top. 

Photo by Doreen Heintz



A total of 81 Fergus High School seniors quickly went from being students to becoming alumni of FHS when the 118th annual Commencement Exercises took place Sunday at the FHS Fieldhouse. During the playing of “Pomp and Circumstance” by the FHS Band under the direction of Karl Ortman, the seniors entered the Fieldhouse, some for maybe the last time. 

Jeff Elliott, principal of FHS, welcomed the audience to the commencement exercises, followed by the playing of the National Anthem by the FHS band. 

Ethan Day was the first of the two class valedictorians to speak. Day encouraged his classmates to find out “who you want to be, rather than what you want to be.” Day’s final words of advice were “keep your foot on the gas.”

After the FHS choir, under the direction of Chris Hildebrandt, sang, “Seize the Day,” the other class valedictorian, Lissy Southworth, spoke.

Southworth journeyed down memory lane reminiscing about the years of school. Southworth pointed out that many in the class couldn’t wait for this day. Some of her words of advice to her classmates were “not to expect the expected, but accept the unexpected.”

Several senior band members joined the band for one last time to play “Loch Lomond.”

Noah Majerus, president of the Class of 2018, introduced the commencement speaker, Mike Milburn. 

Milburn, who is also a Fergus graduate, is currently the Chief of Staff for the Montana Attorney General’s Office. Milburn served 20 years as a U.S. Air Force and Montana Air National Guard pilot. Upon his retirement from the military, Milburn flew Mercy Flight’s fixed wing air ambulance for Benefis Hospital in Great Falls for 10 years. In 2004, Milburn was elected to the Montana House of Representatives and served as the Speaker of the House in 2011-2012.

Milburn’s message to the Class of 2018 included feeling fortunate to be living in this country. 

He urged the class “to work hard, have a good attitude and be respectful.”

“Be positive,” he said, “and don’t ever give up.”

Milburn told the class they each have an obligation to “be a productive member of society, and to also help those in need.”

Following Milburn’s address, was the senior slide presentation put together by Kristen Durbin. Each member of the class was supposed to write a quote to share with the group. One member had as his quote, “Senior quotes are due today.”

FHS Principal Elliott shared with the class that he had written a note to each one of the seniors and taped it to the bottom of their chair. Assistant Principal Jeff Friesen handed out the two valedictorian awards. 

Then it was time for what everyone had come to see – the presentation of diplomas by School Board Trustees Kris Birdwell, Jeff Southworth and Monte Weeden. FHS Counselor Karen Durbin read the roll call for the Class of 2018. With cameras snapping, parents, friends and relatives cheered as each member of the Class of 2018 received his/her diploma.  

After the final diploma was awarded, Majerus closed the ceremony and the graduation hats, many of them decorated for the first time, went flying in the air.

The FHS seniors had now officially become FHS alumni. 



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