CA celebrates first graduating class

By Paul Downer, Community Editor

Cologne Academy celebrated a milestone last Wednesday, June 6 when it held its first graduation ceremony for 8th graders.

The graduating class consisted of 12 students who will scatter to a variety of area high schools for their freshman year of high school next year. Six of the students will go to Waconia High School, three will attend Central, and Minnetonka, Chaska and Glencoe-Silver Lake will each take one student.

Speakers at the 90-minute ceremony included teachers, students and Rep. Ernie Leidiger, who addressed the students and passed out a special letter usually reserved for graduating seniors wishing the graduates a successful future. He explained that since the event was a special occasion, a first graduating class, the letters were appropriate to distribute.

Lynn Gluck Peterson, executive director of Cologne Academy, opened the ceremonies, and speeches by 8th grade home room teacher Erin Slavik and 7th grade home room and mathematics teacher Chris Johnson followed. Johnson said the ceremony was particularly meaningful to him because the graduating students were part of his first class as a teacher.

Theo Emo served as the student keynote speaker, and challenged students with the question, "What would you do if you were not afraid?"

A number of 7th grade students were also involved in the ceremony, reading the names and unique, non-academic awards given to each 8th grade student.

Other activities during the ceremony included a DVD presentation of photos from younger years, video of a recent class trip to Eagle Bluff in Lanesboro and video interviews of 8th grade students and the middle school staff.