Thank you to school, community for support in strange times

Salutatorian Anna Felthous gives part of her shared speech with valedictorians Hannah Nordlund (left) and Emma Barchus (right). Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

Good evening PR-B students, staff, family and friends. We hope you all are well during this strange time.

Although we are unable to have a traditional graduation, we feel it is very important that the class of 2020’s accomplishments are seen. We have worked hard our whole high school career and our last few months of being a senior unfortunately were cut short. We lost things such as prom, graduation, sports, extracurricular activities and making our last high school memories.

But we are thankful to have a school and community that have supported us through all of this. We want to highlight some of the amazing things this community has done for us seniors and to show our gratitude.

We want to thank Liz Dahl and Nicki Lodge for organizing a time capsule for the class of 2020. When we look back at those items years from now, we will be reminded of all the accomplishments and amazing memories that we had at PR-B. So when we look back at this time, we will be reminded of all the good and not the bad.

We want to thank the Pine River Bakery for providing every senior with a graduation cake. We are so happy to have a community that supports us. It reminds us how lucky we truly are.


We want to thank KLKS radio for organizing a senior night to share memories, accomplishments and future plans of the graduating class. It was heartwarming to hear from past teachers and current teachers sharing memories and showing their support. The staff here at PR-B is truly like no other.

We want to thank the community for its outpouring of support. Your willingness to “adopt a senior” has shown us the love of this community. Putting together a basket of items for every senior will help us get through this difficult time. This will help us tremendously and we are extremely grateful.

These are only a few of the things this community has done and on behalf of every senior, thank you. We want to thank every staff member for helping to provide food to families and working hard to organize distant learning for us. We know how hard all of you work and it means a great deal to us.

Parents, thank you for all that you have done for us through high school and especially now. These last months have been very different and we appreciate all that you have done. We know this has been just as hard on you as it has been on us. We will all learn and grow from these tough times together. Thank you all for being a part of our high school years. We are just as excited as you are for our futures.

And lastly, to our classmates. We have made so many memories together and have had a lot of ups and downs. It is strange to look back on our last day, and how all of us were oblivious to the fact that it was the last time we would have class together, walk to our locker between classes or eat lunch in the school cafeteria.

With so many lost memories it is hard to cope with the idea of it all being over within a blink of an eye. It's sad to see each other go our separate ways.

But we know you all will do well. We wish you the best in whatever you choose to do.

Congratulations class of 2020. Thank you.


Emma Barchus and Hannah Nordlund are valedictorians and Anna Felthous is salutatorian for the Pine River-Backus class of 2020.

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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