EAST HELENA — East Helena High School will graduate its first high school seniors this Friday, marking a big step for the relatively new high school and its students.
The Class of 2023 started as sophomores when the school opened, graduating seniors say this is a special time.
"We got to build this and like, we started all the clubs, we started from scratch with all of our sports programs and music programs and just getting to see it flourish and grow and like know that we were a part of it feels amazing," said Dru Lindsey, a graduating senior student at East Helena High School.
The students got to build the school's traditions from scratch, and the standard for the graduating classes to come.
"Few people get to do it, it's just unique. And I feel like our class has done a good job of trying to set the standards because it's something that's so difficult to do, like without past traditions that you can just follow in the footsteps of, you have to make your own and we had to make our own way, and so I think we did a pretty good job," said Kaeden Sager, a graduating senior student at East Helena High School.
For many of them, the feeling of graduating is also bitter-sweet, as they reflect back on the last few years.
"I've put in a lot into the school, whether it's sports and clubs like academics. And so I'm a little sad because I'm leaving. I feel like I'm leaving a part of like all my hard work behind. But I'm also like excited because of all the hard work that I put in, but also like my teachers and the staff members that the school have put into me," said Teagan Wigen, a graduating senior student at East Helena High School.
Superintendent Dan Rispens says he's proud of the students, faculty, and staff who all helped create this special day.
"It's hard to believe we're finally here. It's been a tremendous amount of work and it's been an incredible amount of learning. It's also been a lot of fun and the community support and the excitement out here, I think, is what has really made it so great," said Rispens.
The graduation is scheduled for Friday at 6:30 on the football field, but depending on the weather it may be moved inside. They will announce that decision on Thursday at noon.