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Esko Class of 2023 did it their way

Although they weren't always the most well-behaved students, the Esko Class of 2023 garnered high praise from school administrators and each other during Friday's commencement for the way they embraced life in many different unique ways, learning yet also teaching lessons along the way.

Four students and principal Greg Hexum shared their thoughts before the 82 members of the Class of 2023 walked across the stage one by one and graduated.

"My journey to getting here was not always easy," student speaker Drew Prachar said in his speech about kindness. "I'm sure we can all relate to this, especially having our high school career completely hijacked by Covid, yet we embraced our inner 'sisu' and pushed on," he said, using the Finnish word that expresses something along the lines of determination, guts, courage and willpower, and an unofficial Eskomo motto.

Student speaker Lydia Swedberg referred to a similar set of adjectives as "hunger," something she said she and her classmates share in great quantities, whether it's a hunger to excel academically, athletically, creatively or in the annual CEC nerf war.

Esko principal Greg Hexum shared some of the benchmarks set by the Class of 2023, starting with its five valedictorians, each with 45 college credits already and straight A grades since seventh grade. The Class of 2023 led the region in average ACT score. They also won an array of conference, regional, artistic, athletic and academic titles over their four years at Esko High School, he said. To date, he said, they received more than $1.5 million in academic college scholarships.

"If you know this future-focused bunch, it's no surprise they have unique journeys planned ahead of them," Hexum said.

Student speaker Ella Seboe calculated that students who have attended Esko since kindergarten have spent 85,410 hours enrolled in the school district.

"It's crazy how the years have flown by while the individual days go so slow," Seboe said.

Her advice?

"Soak up every single day," she said.

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