Meskwaki Graduation

MSS graduate Bishop Chavez gives a fist pump in celebration as he walks to receive his diploma. Chavez was one of 16 graduating seniors in the Meskwaki Settlement School Class of 2021 to be honored during the outdoor ceremony on May 29.

Graduation commencement ceremonies returned to semi-normal for the Meskwaki Settlement School Class of 2021 after a year unlike any other.

While the Class of 2020 was forced to weather its own set of unique challenges with the spring semester being interrupted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Class of 2021 returned to the classroom to face nine months of uncertainty.

On May 29, graduating students, families and faculty gathered outdoors at the high school football field on the Meskwaki Settlement honor the accomplishments of the senior students and put a punctuation mark behind their final year as Meswaki Warriors.

After the graduates entered, the commencement began with the playing of the Meskwaki Flag Song by Heath Brown. Wayne Pushetonequa delivered an invocation in the Meskwaki language and a series of student and adult speakers followed.

Superintendent Dr. Willie Barney and Tribal Council Education Representative Zane OldBear spoke to the graduates, reflecting on their time at Meskwaki Settlement School and encouraging them in their future endeavors.

MSS graduates Tiernan Wanatee and Ahnoong Xaivong gave a joint speech as the class speakers for the Meskwaki Settlement School Graduation Ceremony on May 29. Darvin Graham/News Chronicle

Class speakers were Tiernan Wanatee and Ahnoong Xiavong who gave a joint speech. Senior Romeo Buffalo also gave a speech as the Meskwaki Language Speaker.

MSS Talented and Gifted teacher Mary Fitzgerald was the staff speaker chosen by the graduating class. Fitzgerald gathered feedback from colleagues about each senior student’s greatest stregnth and in her remarks gave a personlized message of encouragement to each of the 16 graduates.

The traditional rose presentation followed with each student coming forward and giving out a rose to an important person in their life.

Students were acknowledged for honors in classroom performance as well as scholarship achivements ahead of the presentation of diplomas.

Following the presentation of diplomas, the class was presented and the group exited to the school’s front lawn to greet the new graduates and take photos.

The Meskwaki Settlement School Class of 2021 stand with young members of the community at the beginning of the graduation ceremony on May 29. Darvin Graham/News Chronicle

Those graduating in the Meskwaki Settlement School Class of 2021 included Jacob Bear, Dontay Brown, Romeo Buffalo, Bishop Chavez, Taurice Grant, Desmond Kapayou, Sage Keahna, Deandra Navarro, Evan Nelson, Aleena Pushetonequa, Genesis Ramirez, Daymon Rosenberger, Ninajean Seymour, Tiernan Wanatee, Kallen White Eyes and Ahnoong Xaivong.

Taurice Grant shares a moment with his mom, Chris Alamo during the rose presentation during the MSS Graduation Ceremony on May 29. Each student was able to present a rose to someone who had a great impact on their life. Darvin Graham/News Chronicle