Seward graduate Lena Jagielski parades down 4th Avenue in Seward, Alaska on Friday, May 12, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Seward graduate Lena Jagielski parades down 4th Avenue in Seward, Alaska on Friday, May 12, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Seward graduates 24

The town held a celebratory parade for the seniors on Friday

Seward High School graduated 24 seniors Tuesday in a ceremony held in the school’s auditorium.

The graduates celebrated their individuality — their unique paths through life, their unique strengths, and their unique influences on one another.

Salutatorian Teak Barhaug said that in six years with his graduating class, he’s seen them go through “a lot,” but commended his peers on their resilience in making it to the finish line.

“There’s been a lot of changes in our lives,” he said. “All of us have persevered.”

The graduates of Seward High School, Barhaug said, are strong. They’re strong as individuals, “and especially together.”

Aly Guernsey, Seward’s valedictorian, said Seward High School provided her with many sources of “inspiration, fun, advice and friends.”

She described the people who influenced her, then looked at her peers and told each of them that they each have their own “set of people,” or maybe the same set of people but for different reasons. Those influences, she said, will stay with them well beyond the end of their high school careers.

“We all look a little different than when we got here, we all act a little different and we all have different goals,” she said. “We have a clean slate when we leave here tonight, and we get to choose what we do with that slate.”

Jennifer Ransom, a student success liaison at Seward High, told the students to each “walk boldly” into their own futures. She said that youth is guided by others, but graduation “allows” and “expects” them to start making their own choices, finding their own people, focus and life.

She said that in the future, it will be up to each of the graduates to “choose.” She encouraged them to choose to be kind, to be curious, to be passionate, to laugh, to cry, to surround themselves with people who care about them, and to be a person who cares about others.

“Each of you has the potential for a wonderful journey ahead of you. And your journey will look different from everyone else’s because you are unique,” Ransom said. “Choose to enjoy it.”

On Friday, the departing students were paraded through the city by an escort of police and fire department vehicles. The parade started at the school, then passed over the Sterling Highway and continued down 4th Avenue to the coastline — ending with a barbecue at Branson Pavillion.

As sirens portended the graduates’ arrival, residents along 4th Avenue came out of their homes. They carried signs and pom poms, and they cheered as a procession of students rode by and tossed out candy. The cars were decorated, celebrating their occupants, and many girls wore crowns.

Monday morning, after graduation practice, the senior Seahawks again paraded — through the halls of Seward Elementary and Seward Middle School.

Spring 2023 graduates

Cory Barber

Teak Barhaug

Ryker Bradford

Ozzy Deel

Allie Dixon

Trayvon Durant

Renee Elhard

Brooklynn Forshee-Kurtz

Aly Guernsey

Damion Hart

Nicole Hettick

Paxton Hill

Kaleb Hutchinson

Lena Jagielski

Mya Monaco

Jazmyn Musick

Jaen Peraza

Porter Rockwell

Francisco Sanchez

Ashton Simpson

Ayla Tritz

Mary Withrow

Emery Zinis

Seward graduates parade down 4th Avenue in Seward, Alaska on Friday, May 12, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Seward graduates parade down 4th Avenue in Seward, Alaska on Friday, May 12, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Seward graduates parade down 4th Avenue in Seward, Alaska on Friday, May 12, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Seward graduates parade down 4th Avenue in Seward, Alaska on Friday, May 12, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Seward graduates parade down 4th Avenue in Seward, Alaska on Friday, May 12, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Seward graduates parade down 4th Avenue in Seward, Alaska on Friday, May 12, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Seward residents gather along 4th Avenue in Seward, Alaska to see a parade of Seward High School seniors on Friday, May 12, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Seward residents gather along 4th Avenue in Seward, Alaska to see a parade of Seward High School seniors on Friday, May 12, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Seward graduate Renee Elhard parades down 4th Avenue in Seward, Alaska on Friday, May 12, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Seward graduate Renee Elhard parades down 4th Avenue in Seward, Alaska on Friday, May 12, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

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