Havre Daily News
This year's Havre High School graduating class “knocked 'em dead” in academics with 10 students receiving a 4.0 grade point average for their four years of high school studies, Havre Public Schools superintendent Kirk Miller said during Sunday's commencement ceremony.
Miller said the number was the “greatest I can recollect and I've been here a long time.”
The 148 graduating students earned a total of $548,409 in scholarships, which Miller said also was one of the highest amounts in the school's history, if not the top.
Miller told the crowd of about 2,200 that he was particularly excited for the ceremony because his son Scott Miller was one of the students dressed in a cap and gown. He proudly spoke of his son, the “little brown-eyed boy who gave up his Superman cape in exchange for a book bag” when he first attended school and, in the “blink of an eye,” he was there to receive his diploma.
Miller said he knew his proud comments caused a little embarrassment for his kid.
The speaker chosen by the senior class, HHS history teacher and wrestling coach Scott Filius, pointed out his mom and dad in the crowd and said he did that in part because he wanted to show Scott Miller that “he'll get a chance to get even” with his superintendent father some day.
Miller said Filius is an example of the true impact a teacher can have on his or her students.
The first thing to come to Miller's mind when he thinks about Filius is, “his ability to build character in students both in the classroom and on the mat,” he said.
Filius said when he pondered what to talk about in his address, he thought of integrity.
He told the students and crowd to “do the right thing even when no one is watching.”
Filius told the story of a wrestling tournament he competed in when he was in the fifth grade, which taught him a good lesson in integrity. He was wrestling a “little redheaded kid” when the referee accidentally named Filius the winner. His competitor had actually earned more points. The teacher said he told his coach, who marched the two wrestlers back to the mat and told the ref of his mistake.
“I wasn't sure that was the best coaching strategy,” he said with a laugh.
Filius said his coach then informed him that it was his job as coach to make sure all of the matches are won fairly. The boys went to the center of the ring, where the redhead's arm was raised for his victory.
After a few more rounds of competition, Filius said, he had to wrestle the redhead once more.
Filius said he “gave him the business” in the second match.
Only this time, a ref let the match go four rounds instead of the three it was supposed to run, and once again Filius was wrongly named winner after he dominated the redhead in the fourth round.
When Filius was named winner, the little redheaded kid went off like a “roman candle,” pushing people around and huffing and puffing, he said.
For the second time, Filius informed his coach of the referee's error and was taken to the center of the mat so the redhead could be named winner.
A week later, Filius received a letter in the mail from the redhead's mother. The first half of the letter, he said, apologized for her son's temper and the second part commended Filius and his coach for their behavior in righting the ref's wrongs.
At the end of the tale, Filius said that if he could give the graduating one tip, it would be: “It's as important how you achieve your goals as if you achieve them.”
He ended his address with three bits of advice:
Don't buy things you can't afford.
Those guys who send you credit cards are not your friends.