2023 graduates bid farewell to BHS

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 5/24/23

BELLE — Belle High School class of 2023 bid farewell to the district and a lost friend on May 21 during their graduation ceremony.

The class flowers were white and red roses, the class …

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2023 graduates bid farewell to BHS


BELLE — Belle High School class of 2023 bid farewell to the district and a lost friend on May 21 during their graduation ceremony.

The class flowers were white and red roses, the class song by Hannah Montana “I’ll Always Remember,” and a quote by famous TV character Andy Bernard from the sitcom The Office, “ I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good ole days before you’ve actually left them” the long memory of the class of 2023.

Class Vice President Ryleigh Long described her classmates as fun-loving and competitive.

“I feel like we are very involved and success-driven,” she said. “We are very involved. Not high goals, but they have set goals for themselves and they like to plan to achieve them.”

Long spoke in a group with fellow class officers, including Derrik Pippert, class president, Riley Cooper, secretary and Alexandra Woolley, treasurer. Each class representative was asked to share something about their class.

“We have a very competitive class that wants to win,” Woolley said. “I can’t think of a single kid in our class that I can think of that doesn’t want to win at something no matter what. Our class has very high GPAs compared to other classes in our school because everyone is so competitive, everyone wants to win.”

Cooper said her classmates are friendly and easy to be around.

“I think our class is very welcoming,” she said. “Not very judgey of each other or rude.”

Pippert said despite the class’s tendency toward cliques, they are close.

“I think we’re pretty close,” Pippertt said. “Yeah, there are our own cliques, but when something happens we can mix together with no collision. Like the senior trip, everyone got along for the most part. Yes, there was some drama. For the most part, everyone was happy.”

The class of 2023 was freshmen during the COVID-19 pandemic. They consider the event one of the major obstacles they have overcome.

“We’ve been through a lot together as a class,” Woolley said. “In middle school, we lost a classmate, which was a big hit for all of us. It brought everybody closer. Opened everybody’s eyes. Then our freshmen year with COVID — everyone talked about the seniors a lot, about how they were affected by COVID, which I am sure would have been awful. But the freshmen, we weren’t even part of the school yet. No one knew us. We didn’t know what was going on and then we lost our freshmen year. Then we come back as sophomores, expecting to know what’s happening, but in reality, we are still freshmen.”

Woolley said before freshmen year, her classmates joined everything.

“Everyone was in all these clubs, everyone was in sports,” Woolley said. “We are a very hard-working group of kids. I am excited to see what everyone makes of themselves.”

Poppert said he thinks of his graduating group as a premature class.

“There are a lot of goofballs, but when things need to be serious they are able to get their act together,” he said. “We had to grow up quick.”

Long said the year has flown by.

“The first couple of months I was like, this is going to be slow going,” she said. “We are going to savor senior year. Then BAM, our last day is tomorrow. After tomorrow and after graduation we won’t have to step back into this school.”

Pippert said he felt the same way about the high school library.

“I was down in the library and was like, I am probably not going to stand in this library ever again,” he said.

They were excited about ceremonies coming up.

“We ordered (finger-sized skateboards to give to (Garrett Haslag, BHS principal),” Woolley said about the class tradition of handing the principal something when they shake each student’s hand before they receive their diploma.

“We wanted something difficult that he wouldn’t know what to do with,” Woolley said. “We ordered mini skateboards to hand to our principal. We just wanted something different and difficult.”

The class officers said they didn’t have a class prank.

“No class pranks allowed,” they said.

“We really couldn’t come together and come up with anything,” Long said. “I count the skateboards as our class prank.”

Still, the outgoing class of 2023 said they have so many memories of growing up together that they never want to forget.

“In fifth grade, a student put mouse traps in a desk,” Long said.

“Pep assemblies have definitely gone uphill since they let the students run them,” Cooper said.

Coming up with game themes for the student seating area at ball games.

“We named the student seating section “The Jungle,” Long said. “During the white-out game when we played Vienna we held newspapers up like we weren’t paying attention.”

One theme included a white-out game against Vienna.

“During the white-out game when we played Vienna we held newspapers up like we weren’t paying attention,” Long said. “The teacher/student dance-off. The Dance Team each picked a teacher and did a 15-second dance routine. Whoever got the most cheers won. Mr. Evans won.”

The class of 2023 definitely had its ups and downs. On graduation day they made sure to set a place for a long-lost friend. Dalton Newton died in 2017 at the age of 12 in an ATV accident.

Newton’s classmates had a picture of him among the graduates along with a pair of boots where each student deposited a flower as they walked past. The flower-filled boot was later presented to Newton’s mother.

Graduates left the ceremony with about 40 intending to start college in the fall, one joining the military, and several more entering the workforce.


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