Chamois graduates look to the future as they remember the past

By Misty Loney and Neal A. Johnson
Posted 6/24/20

Dawson Haslag in welcoming friends and family to Saturday’s graduation at Chamois said that these have been unusual times, and he appreciated their attendance.

“For starters I would …

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Chamois graduates look to the future as they remember the past


Dawson Haslag in welcoming friends and family to Saturday’s graduation at Chamois said that these have been unusual times, and he appreciated their attendance.

“For starters I would like to say we made it,” Haslag said. “After 13 long years, we are finally graduating. The day we have been waiting for has arrived, Today is the celebration of us moving forward in our lives, but let’s not forget how we got here.”

Haslag addd that while he has only been in this class since the seventh grade, he feels as though he has known his classmates his entire life. 

“I feel like I have made bonds with every single one of you that will last a lifetime,” he said. “I have made memories with all of you that I won’t forget. Like the time Devin (Warren) was kicked out of Mr. Johnson’s class for making faces at me and licking his lips. Then somehow he managed to get out of the write-up. One of the funniest was when we were taking a test in Mrs. Benham’s class when Richard (Schaperclaus) and Devin took balloons, blew them up and let them go and we all were screamed at. I still don’t know how Devin never got written up. I won’t lie.”

Haslag said he has learned a lot from his time as a Chamois Pirate. “I am glad that I was able to mature around these people,” he added. “But that is enough about me, I am glad to graduate with such wonderful people and to see all of us grow with each other. I wish all of my fellow peers great luck in their futures and their chosen paths whether that be college, workforce, or the military. I am grateful for all the friends I made in this class. I am and always will be proud to be a Chamois Pirate.”

Chamois 2020 Class President Chloë Holloway said she had written a speech months before Saturday’s ceremony. 

“When looking back at it and reviewing it in preparation for graduation, I had realized it wouldn’t at all suit the well-deserved pats on the back that every one of my classmates and their families deserve,” she said. “We made it. All the way from tiny people fighting over who got the swings to graduating seniors surviving through unprecedented times. Our graduation is definitely one to remember, one no one will forget. Our community and my peers have stayed strong through these times and rather than dwelling on what we couldn’t control, we have made the best out of the situation. I believe I speak on behalf of all of the seniors that we are so thankful to have such a supportive community who has done their best to give us a celebration.”

When Gov. Parson announced April 9 that schools in Missouri would remain closed, to some it may have been the beginning of an extra long summer, but Holloway said for her classmates, it was the end of their high school career. 

“It was the loss of our senior trip, something each of us and our families had worked so hard for, and the potential loss of graduation,” she said. “Luckily, we are able to sit and stand here among each other. Not in the way we had imagined it would be, but we are thankful to have a ceremony at all. I know each of us is thankful for the teachers who had educated us and had helped us through our struggles to get to this point. The teachers who helped to expand our creativity and those who helped to expand our critical thinking, we thank you. To the parents who stayed up with us on late nights to help with homework or to just listen to our after school rants, we thank you.”

To her fellow seniors, Holloway said, “We have all had our ups and downs and have all fought like brothers and sisters. Whether we like it or not we each had a hand in each other’s lives. I hope you all will remember each other and I know we will all do great things. Remember that success comes from failures. Remember to always see what will come from the bad and always stay persistent. Do not give up. I hope to see each of you living your best lives in the future. Stay safe and continue to grow. I am and always will be proud to be a Chamois Pirate.”

A bundle of roses under each senior’s seat were handed out to family members and friends from each graduate. Purple gowns and red roses accented the small group of attendees. 

Once all of the roses had been given to loved ones, a slideshow of the class history was presented. Photos of the students at all ages, from babies to graduating seniors, were featured with music chosen by the class members.

Devin Warren in closing Saturday’s ceremony said that starting in elementary he and his classmates all had the same goal in mind. 

“As we finish high school, we look toward the future,” said Warren. “For some of us, college, others the military, or even the workforce. For the graduates, I have to ask you to look to your left, and your right. Remember these people. You grew up with them, learned with them. And now just like you, they are ready to start the next chapter to their life. Those who are next to you are not just your classmates, and not just your friends. They are your family. And even though we are all aware that it is a good chance you will never see some of these faces again. Remember the memories that were shared with them.”

This class did not get a senior trip, or the final year of track, or even the last few months to be with this school as it was cut short. “But that does not mean that we did not make some of the best memories of our lives while we were here,” said Warren. “Remember the jokes, the laughs, the fights and debates we always had in history class. Remember all of it. As I look toward everyone else in this room, the family and friends, and the community members that are in attendance, I want you all to know that we are grateful for everything that you have done to help us and to support us no matter what, without your support, we would not be the amazing group of people that we have grown to be. As for the teachers, sorry for being forced to deal with us in all of your classes, I know we tended to be a handful, but at the same time, you’re welcome. Thank you teachers, for without your help and guidance, we would not be where we are today, you did not just teach us new things about subjects, you taught us to strive for greatness, and accomplish our goals and what we set out to do. With your help, you made those little kids learning to read for the first time from Mrs. Hilkerbaumer’s first grade class into the adults on this stage today. And even though I would show up to your classes always looking for trouble, I am grateful for everything that you have done. 

I am and always will be proud to be a Chamois Pirate.”


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