Gateway graduates a power trio

Seniors began education together as kindergartners in same building

From left, Trent Spaedt, Danae Herrmann and Damaris Almanzan act more like siblings than classmates during a group hug before their graduation ceremony. They all started as kindergartners and graduated from Gateway.

It’s not every year that a school’s graduating class triples from the previous year.

Then again, it’s not every year the graduating class has been together in the same building since kindergarten.

Such was the case Thursday night when Gateway School celebrated high school commencement. The school handed out diplomas to three graduates, which was an increase over last year’s class of one student.

Damaris Almanzan, Danae Herrmann and Trent Spaedt began their education at Gateway School as kindergartners. Thirteen years later, the trio collected their diplomas together.

The small size of the school didn’t bother the graduates, Spaedt said. “It was normal. I’ve heard about what it was like at other schools, but for me, this is normal.”

In fact, a class of three students can be advantageous, Herrmann said. “If you try to leave one person out, it doesn’t really work,” she said with a laugh.

The small class size meant the group interacted more like brothers and sisters than classmates. “We all accept each other,” Almanzan said.

Of course, playful digs at one other accompany any family dynamic. “Time and space will separate us, thank God, but we’ll always be the class of 2011 from Gateway School,” Spaedt said in an address to the crowd.

“Thank you, Trent. And I can say that you at least graduated in the top three in your class,” Principal Pat Chapin responded.

During the ceremony, the graduates were presented personalized handmade quilts stitched by members of the Wayside Chapel. The church members have made quilts for every graduate for many years.

“Congratulations to the class of 2011,” Almanzan concluded addressing her classmates, “in other words, Danae and Trent.”


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