The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

A look back: The Class of 2016

 


What do you remember about the class that you graduated with? Do you remember the friends you made? What about the teachers who guided you toward your academic career? Maybe even you’re reading this next to your high school sweetheart! On Sunday, May 15, the Class of 2016 will graduate from Sidney High School. During their tenure, there were successes in many areas of Sidney High School and the community of Sidney that went unnoticed. My reasoning for contacting the Sun-Telegraph was to shed light on the people that helped shape my class, and to let the people of Sidney know that the Class of 2016 was much more than just another class. We were an ensemble of talent, a group of students dedicated to helping one another and our community. I have seen the good our class has brought, and I thought it was only fitting that I share that feeling.

When people think of high school, one of the first things they imagine is the athletics. It is only fitting that the Class of 2016 will be regarded as one of the best that Sidney has seen in a very long time. Starting in the fall of 2012, this graduating class has earned 3 consecutive trips to the Class B State Football Playoffs, back-to-back Class B State Basketball Tournament appearances, and a Class B State Track Runner-Up and State Championship. This impressive resume gets even gaudier as you look at the individual seasons. In 2013, our football team advanced to the semi-final round and played to the last second with Gretna, a team nearly 3 times our size. In 2014, our football team won the most games in a regular season in nearly 20 years, while our basketball team advanced all the way to the state championship. The track team has won numerous meets, and continues it’s winning ways as we creep closer to another state track appearance. Not to mention the cross country team’s dominant run, and the volleyball team’s success in district play. These impressive streaks can (and should) be accredited to the classes that came before us. Without them, our class would not be able to say that we accomplished so much. More credit should be given to the coaches that have guided many of these teams. They were teachers who were dedicated to the craft, to put that many hours in. They stayed committed to us, and we will forever be in debt to them.

The accomplishments that were on the sports pages were well documented, and were well deserved. But the true colors of our class were shown in the things we did that not many heard about. The Class of 2016 was one of the highest scoring classes on state testing, and we were diligent in the classroom. We have numerous students on the honor roll, and many of our students took very demanding classes to extend their academic careers. We even have some of the brightest minds in not only our state, but the country. One of our peers, Logan Uhlir, is a National Merit Scholar Finalist and isn’t even the Valedictorian of our class. If that doesn’t speak to the depth of academic strength Sidney High School has instilled us, I’m sure the multiple years of Chadron Scholastic 1st place finishes will attempt to show it. The teachers at Sidney High are some of the best that you will find in the state. At all positions, I wouldn’t have traded a single teacher I had from my four years I had at Sidney. Chris Arent and Jay Ehler, our principal and superintendent, set the standard for how we were to succeed in the classroom, and I’d like to think that we set that bar even higher for the classes to come.

Even after digging through the athletics and academics, we’ve only begun to see the greatness of this class. Extracurricular activities show a new side to Sidney High that has usually only been seen or heard in small glimpses. Sidney has a strong speech team, with many students getting involved every year. The band is heard every football and basketball game, and their concerts continue to gain support with every note that is poured out of an instrument. Sidney High always has a strong musical every year, and I’ve seen the community continue to build support for it. An elite octet of singers sang the national anthem at the Class D State Basketball Championship this year, led under the direction of Mr. David Mead. This man has constructed 17 years of straight 1’s at District Music Contest, and has made Sidney Singers into a Gold Championship swing choir. But of all things Mr. Mead is known for, it’s that cowbell you hear when the basketball team heads into a timeout. All of these things are in direct correlation to dedication of my class towards their craft. When I first entered choir as a freshman, we were a choral ensemble of 38. This year, our concert choir has a total of 84 students involved. I have seen our class become leaders, encouraging younger students and peers to be whatever they wanted to be and to pursue their dreams. That is why our class is successful in my eyes. Not because of trophies, awards, or anything else man may covet. We inspired the ones around us to do things they didn’t think they could. In 2013, I witnessed this town come together to rally around a football team that inspired the town. I saw this again at the 2015 State Basketball Tournament. We showed that we can win and lose while still upholding the respect we had for ourselves and in our community, as evidenced by the 2015 Boys State Basketball Sportsmanship Award. We always wanted to prove that we respected the people who taught us how our lives should be lived, and I believe that our actions spoke louder than the words that others could shout at us.

When I think back on this class, I’m going to think about all of my peers who showed me that the whole is always better than the part. Even after this, there is still so much left unsaid about our class. That is the reason we should celebrate this graduation, I believe that we were a one-of-a-kind class. And the best part? We’re not finished yet.

 

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