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Shanna Behrendsen
Rolfe, Iowa 

(Editor's note: Shanna is a 2001 graduate of the Pocahontas Area Community Schools and was one of three seniors to speak at the PACS commencement exercises on May 20, 2001. Her parents are Mike Behrendsen (RHS 1961) and Joan Zeman Behrendsen (RHS 1970). The following is a transcription, to the best of our ability, of Shanna's talk.)

Destiny is not a matter of chance, itís a matter of choice. Itís not a thing to be waited for, itís a thing to be achieved.

This is the motto that we, the class of 2001, have chosen to represent ourselves.

Good afternoon, everyone. Iíd like to welcome family, friends, and the graduating class of 2001.

When we first voted for a class motto, I didnít vote for the one that was chosen because I couldnít see how it possibly fit our class. But the more I thought about it, the more I saw how it depicts our class perfectly.

Our class has always been a class of achievers, striving to be the best and keep the Pocahontas traditions alive. We have always worked hard and set our goals high. Then we have put forth our best effort to reach these goals, choosing to excel in everything we participate in. I believe that Andy mentioned many of our classí accomplishments. I would just like to echo him in saying that I am proud to be from a class of such hard workers. It definitely paid off with the success weíve had in sports, speech, drama, music, and of course, a national championship in mock trial. The class of 2001 has never chosen to wait. We have always chosen to achieve the very best.

Being from Rolfe, for the first seven years, I went to school with only about 20 of the seniors here today. Looking back at elementary, I remember the few field trips we took with those "naughty Poky kids." Our teachers always told us that the Pocahontas classes were very rough and that we should show them how to be good. Then we got to middle school and realized that it was so much more fun to be one of those "naughty kids." But in all actuality, we werenít doing anything wrong ó we were just having fun. I must say, that no matter what the circumstance was, we could always have fun.

Of course, one of the best sources of fun was the pep bus. This always proved to be an exciting event, although nobody ever watched the game once we got there. We were too busy worrying about who we were going to sit with on the way back.

And those unforgettable middle school dances. The boys who had cooties a few short years ago were now asking us to dance. Of course, those dances never would have been the same without a certain pink cowboy hat in the infamous chicken dance. The Monday after those dances, however, most of the girls usually ended up in Mrs. Phillipís office because of yet another fight. Or someone dancing with someone else, and they werenít even going out.

The whole "going out" concept always brought about the inevitable question from parents. "When youíre in middle school, where do you go, when you go out with some one?" "Duh, Mom, weíre just, you know, weíre Ďgoing out.í" Middle school was the time to get rid of most of our immaturity and pettiness and prepare ourselves for high school.

The summer before my freshman year, I remember being scared to death to enter high school. The senior class contained monsters. We didnít dare look at them for fear they would haul us out to Pascalís and make us walk back in the dark. But I remember my first day of school when a few of us freshmen couldnít find the Spanish class, and it happened to be one of those monster seniors who pointed the way. And much to our surprise, we ended up in the Spanish room and not in the boysí bathroom.

In high school, we continued to find fun in the least likely places. Our parents will never understand how we can drive around in circles for hours on end one night and still ask for a later curfew the next night so we can do the same thing. In a small town, we create our own fun. Cruising Main, singing the wrong lyrics at the top of our lungs, giving each other make-overs, and eating peanuts and throwing bread sticks at 3 a.m. are just a few memories that weíll keep with us forever.

In the six years that everyone has been together, we have grown close. We are a class of diverse personalities; however, after getting know each other we were able to respect these differences and learn from them. As we have grown and matured together, we have influenced each other.

Each person in the class of 2001 has had something unique and special to contribute to the class. In this way, our motto holds true, not only in competitive events but also in the relationships between classmates. We chose to overcome many differences in personalities. In doing so, we achieved friendships strong enough to last a lifetime. Through all the good and bad times, the laughter and tears, the successes and failures, we have always been there for each other.

I want to thank you, the class of 2001, for every memory we have made throughout the school years, and wish you all the very best of luck. I would like to leave you with one final thought.

Destiny is not a matter of chance, itís a matter of choice. Itís not a thing to be waited for, itís a thing to be achieved.


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