Last Friday, the class of 2018 graduated from Bethel Regional High School. As Bethel’s largest class of graduating seniors since the year 2000 said farewell, so did outgoing Site Administrator Ed Pekar and math teacher David Cronk.
Preparing for his role in the ceremony, with his wife straightening his tie, Ed Pekar had mixed feelings about leaving his job as Bethel Regional High School's site administrator.
“It’s a happy time for me to be moving, but it’s really sad because I’ve really enjoyed, I’ve known these kids, a lot of them, since the fourth grade,” said Pekar. “This class in particular, a lot of personality and I’m really going to miss it, especially this night; graduation at Bethel Regional High School is a big deal for the community.”
Next year, Pekar moves to the main offices of the Lower Kuskokwim School District.
Top honors graduates Katie Crow and Tierney McCormick gave commencement speeches. Both earned above a 4.0 grade point average. They are planning to pursue careers in nursing and neuroscience, and it was McCormick who introduced the man that the students selected to be their Keynote speaker: basketball coach and math instructor David Cronk.
“Cronk decided to leave us this year and I know that many of the students here will miss him,” said McCormick. “I present to you, Mr. David Aristotle Cronk.”
Cronk and his family are relocating to Valdez next year. He spoke to the Class of 2018 about the importance of taking responsibility for how they approach their next steps.
“If you can live your life waking up each day and being aware that you are the one who gets to decide what attitude you bring to school or work or whatever it is that you’re doing that day, and I believe it will lead to a happy life for you and the ones around you,” said Cronk.
Though not always easy, said Cronk, it’s worth it in the long run.
“There will be times when it’s hard to have a good attitude about things, but if you can make that decision more often than not, I believe you will live a more happy and more fulfilled life,” Cronk said.
The diplomas were given out to the 66 graduates, and then the BRHS dance team performed together one last time.
Ed Pekar's departing message for the class of 2018?
“Just do what they did to succeed here. Keep developing the relationships, building the community the way they did, depending on each other and people around them and they’ll be fine,” said Pekar.
Congratulations to all 66 members of the Bethel Regional High School Class of 2018.