24 ‘amazing’ graduates

River Bend celebrates class of 2024

Jacob Meidl shares his senior speech during the River Bend senior graduation.

NEW ULM — NEW ULM — In his welcome address, Principal Chris Bodick said it was only fitting there are 24 graduates in the 2024 River Bend Education District senior class.

Bodick said it was a big day for the students, a culmination of the hard work, tears, struggles, and joy that brought them success. He said regardless of the path they took to get here, they had all accomplished their goals.

“Amongst our graduates today are some people that did things a little bit of a different way,” he said. “We have students that attended day school, independent study students, students that attended full-time college all year long, and some that attended part-time college. You’ve all taken a different journey to get here but we are together celebrating graduation.”

Jacob Meidl gave the senior speech. He thanked his teacher and paraprofessionals who helped mold him into who he is today. He also wished to thank himself and his mom, who he acknowledged had gone through a lot to support and raise him.

“Someone who started with nothing yet with just enough determination made it to this day,” he said. “Honestly I’m so proud of her.”

New Ulm Area Foundation Board member Lisa Besemer shakes the hand of $1,000 scholarship recipient Mackenzie Holmberg.

Meidl said he was excited for the next stage of his life and thankful for the friends he had made from childhood to high school. Even so, he couldn’t believe he was already graduating high school.

“Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and realize, ‘Wow, I was eight 10 years ago and now I’m halfway to 36,'” he said. “Good grief.”

Lisa Besemer then presented a $1,000 scholarship on behalf of the New Ulm Area Foundation. The scholarship was awarded to Mackenzie Holmberg.

Art teacher Carina Ahlness gave the staff speech. She said she was overwhelmingly proud of the students for the hard work they had put in to get there and to the families for their support.

“Despite all the struggles, you graduates showed resilience and courage to move forward,” Ahlness said. “To our students, I will remind you; we see you, we hear you and we are overwhelmingly proud of you and how amazing you really are. Most of you have experienced and survived life-altering events and you chose to stay on the path to graduate.”

Olivia Grossman shakes Principal Chris Bodick’s hand as she graduates from River Bend.

Before ending her speech, Ahlness said she had three thank yous she wanted to give to the graduating class.

First, for their resilience in overcoming obstacles and hurdles. Second, for the chance to see them grow and the commitment they had to attend school every day even with their full lives. Third, for being students who not only have made it to their graduation but have been a model for younger students on the path to graduation.


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