GREENSBURG — As the clock struck noon Saturday, the North Decatur High School Band fired up Elgar’s traditional “Pomp and Circumstance” as North Decatur High School bid its 2021 graduating class a fond and final farewell.

Ninety-four red robe-clad graduates, friends and families gathered in the North Decatur gymnasium to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the National Anthem before NDHS Principal Debbie Reynolds gave opening remarks and well wishes.

2021 Class President Taylor Bohman introduced the guest speaker, teacher Brian Ingmire, and in an address tailored much like a biology presentation he compared the emotional supporting bonds between various people, families and friendships alike, to the cellular interrelationships between trees in a forest. Saying, “I’m honored to be asked to speak at your graduation, but I’m humbled and honored to be a part of your life.”

After his address, Assistant Principal Chris Thurston introduced class Valedictorian Noah Howell.

Howell welcomed all to the commencement, saying he was honored to represent the 2021 graduating class.

“I want to begin with a little bit of gratitude, because I’m sure I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for a little bit of help,” Howell said.

He thanked his parents for their endless support and unquestionable love. He also thanked his coaches and teachers, and then thanked his grandmother saying, “She watches over me every day with the biggest, brightest smile.”

Delivering a largely humorous address, Thurston told the audience that despite a few quotes from his admired role model he had no idea why he was there. He said he was “just like the rest of you, I do not know what is coming.”

“There will be a lot of noise and a lot of people offering advice. I can’t tell you whose advice is best, there isn’t an app that will tell you the right answers. I know, I googled it!” Howell said.

Salutatorian Logan Koehne delivered another largely humorous address as well. He began by saying, “Apparently, the President of the United States gets a speech writer, but the Salutatorian of the North Decatur Graduating class does not.”

“Secondly,” he continued, “the great Ricky Bobby said ‘If ya ain’t first, you’re last.’ So I’m confused why I’m standing up here today giving a last place speech!”

Koehne also recognized the members of his class that were choosing to enter the military service and his family.

At the end of his speech, he surprised the entire gathering by removing his cap with his hair attached, revealing a newly shorn head.

The audience roared with laughter and applause.

The NDHS Band, under the direction of Christopher Williams, played “What a Wonderful World” as a special recognition video was played.

Principal Reynolds, Assistant Principal Chris Thurston, Superintendent Burns and Guidance Counselor Barb Lecher presented the class with their diplomas in typical processional fashion.

Class President Taylor Bohman led the class in the tassel-turning ceremony, and the event concluded as the band played the North Decatur School Song.

Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-663-3111, ext 217011 or email bill.rethlake@greensburgdailynews.com

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