Salmon Prairie Eighth Grade Graduate April Burkhart, center front, with teacher Jill Maus, left, friend and former teacher Colleen Kesterson, right, and parents Brian Parks and Kathy Kinzfogl, at back.
by Suzanne Vernon
For the Pathfinder
June 18, 1998
About thirty people gathered at Salmon Prairie School on June 2 to participate in the graduation ceremonies for student April Burkhart, the school's lone eighth grade graduate for 1998.
Burkhart has attended Salmon Prairie School in the Swan Valley since she was in second grade.
"It was cool. It was fun," she said enthusiastically. Burkhart, who wore a long forest-green dress with a black jacket for the event, was surrounded by friends and family at the ceremonies held in the white, one-room schoolhouse located near the banks of the Swan River north of Condon. Thirteen students in grades kindergarten through eighth attended school at Salmon Prairie this year.
Burkhart mentioned some of the advantages of attending a small school. "We get a lot of one-on-one attention, and we build better friendships," she explained. But there's disadvantages, too. "There aren't many kids your own age," she smiled.
Burkhart looks forward to attending Bigfork High School next fall, and is especially interested in participating in sports activities there.
April's class motto was "The Fire Within Me Will Always Burn." The graduation ceremony was opened by a song from Christie Pearson, followed by the commencement address by former teacher Colleen Kesterson. Class predictions and wills were read, Burkhart made her farewell speech, and the cermemony closed with a benediction by local pastor, Charlie Wood.