Henry High celebrates 224 graduates at commencement


This article was written by Tom Murray and Susan Breedlove


Quick test: Who gave the Valedictorian’s address at the last graduation you attended?  Most will not remember. That was not the case on June 6 at the Minneapolis Convention Center when Keaton Clarke dropped the norm of standing behind a podium and came out directly in front of his peers–all draped in gowns and graduation caps in a sea of red. Clarke, a perfect 4.0 GPA International Baccalaureate Career Program student, and winner of the school’s highest musical honor, the Sousa Award, inspired and challenged everyone in attendance with spoken word fluency: “Albert Einstein said, a ship is safe at shore, but that is not what it’s built for. It’s better to fail, than to not try at all. Take risks. Face your fears head on. Be awesome! Be yourself.” Clarke collected his diploma and a host of scholarships which he will invest to study his passion of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Minnesota.


The Class of 2018 was rewarded with over $1 million in scholarships that were celebrated at Henry’s Dedication Day ceremony the previous day. Salutatorian Suabi Thao, who will study accounting at Hamline University in the Fall, praised and thanked graduates and their families for working hard and working together. Graduates then proudly paraded through the Northside feeder schools from which many had graduated years before–Olson, Loring and Jenny Lind.


In his ‘Principal’s Welcome’ Yusuf Abdullah asked the entire assembly at the Convention Center to celebrate the Class of 2018 as one big family: “We are a PHamily with a PH… a group of people, young and old, and anything in between that are Black, Asian, White, Latino, Somali and Native. A group of people that is diverse, sophisticated, creative, caring, active, problem-solvers, united, protective, resilient, talented, thinkers, brave, handy, leaders, patriots and Northsiders. They have known to be IB, Engineering, AVID, Robotics, Steppers, dancers, musicians, singers, gamers, athletes, designers, Debaters, volunteers, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, employees, employers, international travelers and social justice leaders. In the near future, they will be the next doctors, lawyers, dentists, engineers, electricians, plumbers, nurses, architects, principals, construction workers, entertainers, community organizers, entrepreneurs, soldiers, police officers and teachers.”


The Keynote Address was delivered by Michael Klein and Caroline Stammers, the two most inspirational teachers voted by the Class of 2018. Klein, a victim of the budget deficit, will not be returning to Henry in the Fall. Still, the overall tenor of the journey that the graduates had taken and now embark on was best summed up in the choral selection of Optimistic by Gary Hines, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.


            The following are graduates of the Class of 2018 who have received highest honors and scholastic awards:

  • Highest Honors

†    Honors Diploma

*    Bilingual/Multilingual Gold/Platinum Seal Recipient

◊    Bilingual/Multilingual Proficiency Certificate Recipient

     Completed three or more Project Lead the Way examinations

    Completed the MYP Personal Project in 10th Grade

  • Completed the requirements of the AVID Program


  • Allen, Tajae Unique

◻         Bady, Serena Tomore

  • †◻ Becker, Camille Alexandra

■          Bernhardt, Nathan Blaine

†          Branch, Eliana Rebecca

■          Burton, Howard Antonio


◻         Carpintero, Pedro

◻         Chang, Chue Tong

  • †■ Clarke, Keaton Emon
  • Cox, Attilere Ahlai Dior

◻         Cubias Lennon, Kristopher Michael

■          Cunningham, Tramain Lamont

◻         Finch, Nautica Gennette

◻         Flores, Irwin

◻         Hines, Eunice

◻         Hurd, Erreon Tenise Moenay Deloise

†          Insisiengmay, Olivia Anastasia

†*         Khang, Chou Neng

†          Kolodjski, Kaitlyn

■          Lee, Cadren Mouachie

*◻        Lee, Cynthia Panonghlee

  • †* Lee, Gaocha Ia

†          Lee, Keng

†          Lor, Chieng F.

◻         Marquez Castrejon, Naidelyn Selene

  • McCullough, Savannah Joy

◊          Mendez, Joshua

  • Moore, Semaj D.

†◻       Morales Benites, Ebelin Guadalupe

  • †*◻ Moua, Gaochia

†■        Moua, Vithaya

†          Munye, Shaadia Aidarus

■          Neils, Theodore Rex

†          Nguyen, Kathy

■          Rubio, Cesar

  • Sparkman, Christopher Gene

■          St. Jean, Alisa Alex

■          Thao, Moua

◻         Thao, Nou Ci Naree

  • †◻ Thao, Suabyi

†          Thao, Toua

◻         Turner, Ledeveon Ledrew

◻         Turner, Robert Eric

■          Vang, Alexander Moua Chie


  • †◊ Vang, Christina Duabci

◻         Vang, Davee

†◻       Vang, Mai Tong

◻         Vang, Michelle

◊          Vang, Mindy

◊          Vang, Nou Chee

◻         Vue, Maiyer

■          Vue, Xai

■◻       Wang, Louie

Watkins, Shaviece Kaprice

Wilson, Elexus M.

◊          Xiong, Lucas

◻         Yang, Ahna Precious

◻         Yang, Chaling

◻         Yang, Chang

†◻       Yang, Lisa Cua

◻         Yang, Peter Ger

†◻       Yang, Sorena

†*◻      Yang, Tia

■          Yang, Tou Lee

†          Zahran, Sophie

■          Zuehlke, Alexander James Peter