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Clouds part for 132nd GBHS commencement
168 graduate with GBHS Class of 2019
GBHS Grad19-35.jpg
Darian Harbaugh, senior class president, leads graduates, faculty and attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. Also pictured (left to right), Katherine Snapp, valedictorian; Elizabeth Linenberger, salutatorian; Jacquie Disque, Board of Education member; Tim Friess, principal; Susan Young, Board of Education member.

By Andrea Bauer

Special to the Tribune

If the weather is any indication, the class of 2019 has a bright future ahead. In place of the storm clouds and rain that have been commonplace in Great Bend recently, the community welcomed blue skies to celebrate 168 graduates that received diplomas at Great Bend High School’s 132nd Commencement Ceremony held on Sunday, May 19.  

Darian Harbaugh, senior class president, led attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance before Elizabeth Linenberger, salutatorian, and Katherine Snapp, valedictorian, provided senior addresses. 

Snapp referenced the importance of unity in the class of 2019 by reflecting on the past. 

“One hundred years ago, the class of 1919 started the tradition of wearing caps and gowns at the commencement ceremony in effort to create unity,” said Snapp. “Today, we’re more than one with just our attire, we are here in this moment to celebrate what we have achieved and finished. We are here together in this time where we start a new chapter.”

Continuing a parallel theme of unity and celebration, GBHS Principal Tim Friess reminded students that while their paths forward will vary in both successes and failures, “today, each of you are equal in achieving one common goal: graduation from Great Bend High School.” 

In addition to a large crowd of family members, peers, faculty, and staff at the GBHS Memorial Stadium, spectators from across the country virtually attended the commencement ceremony through a live-stream on Facebook. Over 1,500 viewed the live ceremony or its archive within 12 hours of the event’s conclusion. 

“The live broadcast of graduation was so special for my family,” said Amanda Swigart, GBHS parent. “Thanks to technology and the hard work of Mr. (Dan) Heath, when unexpected health issues kept my family in Wichita, they were still able to celebrate this milestone with us in real-time.”

The archived ceremony, as well as an image gallery, is available on the Great Bend High School Facebook page.