EVART — Twelve students at Evart’s Alternative High School marked a milestone in their educational careers last week and stepped with confidence into the next chapter in their life story with smiles on their faces, and the support of family and friends.

Despite occasional stumbling blocks and some delays, the Alternative High School Class of 2011 are ready to move on and begin building a foundation for good things to come. (There were also ten additional graduates not at the ceremony and seven successful GED honorees.)

Before a large crowd of teachers, staff, friends, neighbors and families, the grads gathered to be honored by district superintendent Howard Hyde and Board of Education president Alan Bengry, and to receive their diplomas in an impressive and touching ceremony. “We’re very, very proud,” said Alternative High School principal Carol Bogner during the ceremony. “Each of these graduates have made some incredible efforts to arrive at this point. This is a great group. I’m going to miss them. “It’s sometimes hard to imagine coming to school and not seeing the faces of these people who have come to mean so much to all of us at Alternative High School. “They have worked hard. We are so, so proud of each and every one of them.” To the strain of Elgar’s Pomp and circumstance, the 12 graduates entered Evart’s middle school auditorium appropriately capped, gowned, and ready for the occasion. In her welcoming remarks Principal Bogner noted that at reaching a point in their lives when they were able to collect diplomas, each of the students fulfilled every requirement and demand placed on any other high school student in the state of Michigan. She pointed out that each graduate would receive a diploma from Evart High School and added, “All of them are prepared and will be able to compete at whatever they choose to do.” Bogner continued her thoughts telling the students and those gathered. “The time has come for us to say good-bye,” she pointed out. “You have worked long and hard to get to this important place in your life. “The path you have chosen has not always been an easy one, and the road has not always been smooth. “However, you had the courage and ambition to succeed, that is evident by your presence tonight. “We are very proud of you and your success.” Class members Samantha Taschner, Warren Proper, and Aungelique Dyer offered remarks on behalf of themselves and their classmates. Each expressed not only their pleasure at finally arriving at this day, but their gratitude to the staff, family and community who helped them achieve this milestone in their lives. A video presentation kept the audience captivated with views of students’ lives from childhood and through Graduation Day. And then, the Class of 2008 was presented to the public by Principal Bogner. Board president Bengry awarded each student their diploma and superintendent Hyde made the proclamation finalizing the class’s status as graduates. Laurie Routheaux led her classmates in the tassel switching ceremony and off they went. The Evart Alternative High School class of 2011 headed off into the world to begin the next stage in life. Members of the Class of 2011 at last Thursday’s ceremony include: Brooke Crawford, Aungleique Dyer, Alyssa Elliott, Bryan Hill, Fawn Morrow, Warren Proper, Dustin Smith, Samantha Taschner, Jacob Underhill, Taren David, Tina Moot, and Laurie Routheaux.