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Photo gallery: Hudson High School Class of 2018 graduation

With a nod to the struggles they had to endure along the way, Hudson’s seniors shoved off Saturday into the post-graduation world.

Valedictorian Connor Hess reminded fellow Class of 2018 members that while they weren’t able to reap all the benefits from the massive construction project underway at Hudson High School, it made them more adaptable and resilient.

“(It) will benefit us all in the long run,” Hess said, adding that it didn’t prevent the boys’ hockey team from winning the state title or the girls’ hockey team from claiming the Big Rivers Conference title.

HHS language arts teacher Laura Mlynarczyk struck a similar note in her commencement speech to students, where she urged them to embrace the growth that comes with challenge and risk.

“Color the world unapologetically with your imperfections,” she said.

During her message to graduates, Principal Peg Shoemaker honored Alexa Tennant, a student who battled a rare brain tumor and toward achieving her goal of graduation. She was the recipient of a faculty-awarded scholarship.

Among those teachers who nominated Tennant for the honor were science teacher Brian Petermeier, who reflected on her perseverance..

“I can’t think of a better person who embodies the spirit of this scholarship,” Petermeier wrote in a statement read by Shoemaker. “She has lived a lifetime of adversity before ever graduating high school.”

Class President Benjamin Smith added notes of levity to his speech, encouraging classmates to commit fully to their goals.

“Full send — or don’t send at all,” he said.

A full video of the ceremony is available here.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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