Kluver shares 3 lessons with SHS seniors
The 2018 Spencer High School seniors in attendance during Sunday night’s baccalaureate ceremony, selected their theme from 1 Timothy 4:12, which reads “Do not let anyone treat you as if you are unimportant because you are young. Instead, be an example to the believers with your words, your actions, your love, your faith, and your pure life.” In a similar fashion, baccalaureate speaker and SHS educator Liz Kluver spoke to the graduates, teaching them three lessons to reflect on and keep as they move toward the next phase of their young lives.
“There are three lessons that I wanted to share with you that I hope you take with you and use,” Kluver said. “Lesson No. 1 is ‘ask why?’”
The educator shared with the graduates and families that one of the reasons she agreed to be the baccalaureate speaker was to her connection with the class, such as her first year being their seventh-grade computer class teacher, and watching them learn and grow through their high school careers. Kluver’s first lesson references her first day in their class, where she was shocked by the amount of questions the class had asked her about her personal life, such as the gender of her unborn child, and the members of her family.
“You want to ask questions and you genuinely want to know those people around you,” Kluver said. “I don’t think it was middle school thing, I think it was a class of 2018 thing. I really feel that you need to continue to ask why. If you’ve ever been around a toddler, they’re constantly asking ‘why?’ My question is why as toddlers are we always asking why and questioning, and at some point we stop asking why? I want to encourage you to continue to ask ‘why?’
“I want you to also ask yourself why?” she continued. “Many of you are very involved, you have a full load of school, one or two part-time jobs, you’re in extracurricular activities, with friends, you have a lot going on. Every once and a while pause, and ask yourself ‘why?’ Why do you keep the things in your life that you do? Because that’s an important thing to answer. Are you doing the things that you’re doing to fulfill your future goals? Are the things you’re doing bringing yourself closer to your faith? Closer to those around you? You also need to question your faith, question your beliefs. Ask why you believe what you believe and seek the answer.”
Kluver's second lesson to the class was to “be fearless.”
“Fear is an emotion that stops us,” Kluver said. “It prevents us from speaking to someone new. Fear prevents us from taking advantage of new opportunities, and fear prevents us from moving forward. I still, from time to time allow the emotion of fear to take over, but I’ve learned to embrace that fear and use it to move forward. The last seven years at SHS have put me in some fearful positions, I taught middle school, I placed students in the public — but what I’ve found is that if I get comfortable in what I’m doing instead of putting myself in fearful positions, I don’t grow. And that’s what fearless is all about, is growing. Being fearless allows you to better yourself. ... When fear or embarrassment creep into your emotions, allow prayer to take over. Take risks, seek new opportunities and don’t allow fear to hinder your next steps.”
The third lesson, “go,” hinged on the selected theme of the night, which Kluver expanded into the selection’s 14th and 15th verses.
“Do not neglect your gift,” Kluver said. “This is an extremely talented class, you are all talented in all your own ways, so the scripture is telling you to go, go and share your gift, show the world who you are. The favorite part of my job is talking to students and asking them what their passions are, and asking what your dreams and goals are for the future. Don’t forget to have those conversations. If no one is asking you, ask yourself. What are your passions? What do you want to achieve? Along the way, ask ‘why?’ and be fearless.”
Kluver “quizzed” the class to repeat their three lessons, before thanking them for challenging her and “pushing her to her next step” as she will move to a new position at Buena Vista University.
“Show the world who you are, and no matter where we all are, we will always be Spencer Tigers,” Kluver said.
The night’s invocation was conducted by Jim Tighe who handled the prayer, and Jamie Tighe, who read the intentions. This included a special blessing for graduating military enlistees Jacob Carr, David Holt and Levi Moranville.
“Watch over those who answer the call to service in the armed forces,” Jim Tighe said. “Keep them safe from all evil, and grant that in all things they may serve without reproach. Oh Lord, bless these servicemen and graduates, purify their motives and their goals and give them a measure of usefulness and purpose in the world, which you have made and redeemed. Support us all day long, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in your mercy, grant us safe lodging and a holy rest.”
The senior choir and chromatic jazz both performed in the ceremony, as well as a small ensemble of SHS students. Multiple prayers and poems were orated by both parents and graduates as well during the night.
The evening came to a close with a final thank you from Hillary Hoffman and those in attendance singing a rendition of “Irish Blessing.”
“Class of 2018, you are strong because you know your weakness,” Hoffman said. “You are compassionate because you have all suffered. You are alive because you are all fighters. You are wise because you have all learned valuable lessons. You can laugh because you have felt sadness. You can love because you have experienced loss. You can trust because you have forgiven, and have been forgiven. You are together strong — yes, you — the class of 2018. Who have weathered the storm, but still love to dance together in the rain.”