The last class

Sunday will be bittersweet in Ventura

by Marianne Morf
    Commencement is, by definition, a time of change. “The beginning; start,” states Webster’s. 
    It’s also an ending. 
    Sunday, Ventura High School will award diplomas to its final graduating class.
    “It’s bittersweet.  We love Ventura, but we’re happy to graduate,” says Kaitlyn Chizek, president of

Ventura’s Class of 2012.   “We all talk about how Ventura is a big family and we’re sad to leave family.  I’m also sad the younger students won’t have the chance to experience Ventura High School like I did.  There’s been a lot of reflecting going on here in the final days.  There are so many good memories.”
    “I loved my time at Ventura, especially being able to have a wide variety of friends,” said Joel Watson, one of the 19 graduates who will receive his diploma this weekend.   “It didn’t matter if you were an athlete or not, or a senior or a freshman, we were all just friends.”
    The graduates aren’t the only one reflecting upon their school days.  Their parents, grandparents and others with connections to the school have thought of their own school days as each benchmark of the school year passed.  Theirs was the last Homecoming, last prom, last home basketball game, last band performance, last senior skip day and many, many more.
    “As a Ventura graduate I had a great experience there,” added Joel’s father, Brad Watson.  “I’m glad that my children were also able to experience high school at Ventura. It was fun to relive some of the traditions I had in high school again through my children.  It was a great place that formed them into the people they are today.”
    Dustin Ward says he has a unique perspective of the school, having grown up in its halls. 
    “Most of my family is Ventura alumni.  My grandfather Marvin Brager, my uncles Mike and Randy Brager, my aunts Cheryl Nesbit and Janet Brager, my mother Barb Ward, my sister Tiffani Primrose, my cousins Molly, Emily and Laura Brager, my lovely wife Allison Ward, my nieces and nephew Jordan, Faith and Nick  have all walked these halls.  We have bonds to a school district that instilled morals and lessons that we will pass on for years to come.”
    Six years ago the VHS graduate (Class of 2001) returned to teach math and coach at his alma mater.  Sunday, at the request of the graduating class, he will deliver the commencement address.
    “I have shared the same excitement for academics/athletics and extracurriculars.  I have experienced and grown under some of the same instructors.  I have the ultimate privilege to work with them today.  I can still share stories with my colleagues about exper-

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