May 29, 2013 - By Christina George, Staff WriterFremont County School District 21 celebrated a milestone May 18 when it graduated its first class of seniors.
"This is the first ever Fort Washakie High School graduation," principal Shad Hamilton said at the commencement.
District 21 was a K-8 school system that also operated a charter high school until last year when the state approved its request for unification into a K-12 system.
The class of 2013 is comprised of three students: Martina Standing Rock, Roger Wagon and Charlie White.
Hamilton spoke about how the school tends to get bad press because of low graduation rates.
"The rates are not indicative of our school, these students are," he said.
Hamilton said Wagon started running cross-country at Fort Washakie while attending Wind River High School.
"This year he decided Fort Washakie was the school for him," Hamilton said.
Wagon plans to move to Montana and study art.
White, Hamilton said, attended all four years of high school at Fort Washakie.
"From day one, he has been one of our neatest kids to work with," Hamilton said, noting White's perfect attendance in past years and several citizen awards.
White's post-graduation plans are to enter the workforce.
"I'm sure he will do great things for Fort Washakie and his family," Hamilton added.
Standing Rock plans to attend Central Wyoming College after graduation to study nursing and photography. Hamilton told attending family and friends that Standing Rock has already earned her certified nursing assistant certification. She too has attended Fort Washakie her entire high school career.
Standing Rock gave a student address as the valedictorian, reminding her classmates that the day was a turning point.
"A chapter of our lives has ended and another is beginning," she said.
Graduation speaker was John Washakie, a longtime district employee.
"Today, we are gathered here to celebrate this great accomplishment," Washakie said. "Let us hope this is only one of many accomplishments to come."
He compared the students' struggle through school to the history of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe in finding the means to live.
"You are here today because of your determination," Washakie continued. "Enjoy today because the struggle starts all over tomorrow."
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