Eighth grade teacher Kris Wolmar said he saw it in Butteville Elementary School’s Class of 2011 after he finished reading them a novel that ends with a spectacular plot twist.

Parent Shelly Pappas recalled seeing it when they were a group of six year olds learning to make butter the way it was done in Little House on the Prairie.

There’s something special, they agreed, about the group of the 17 students who received their diplomas Friday night in a gymnasium packed with family, friends, school staff and other community members.

Wolmar, during his welcome address, said this year’s graduates had a different response after he finished his novel reading exercise. After a brief pause, they “broke out in surprise, excitement and joy” he said.

“They pushed each other to achieve,” said Wolmar. “That memory from the class novel is one I will cherish.”

Pappas, the graduation ceremony’s keynote speaker, recounted how members of this year’s graduates stuck with the butter-churning process at a young age. “I told them to shake and not stop until you have butter,” she said. “The process takes time, patience and perseverance… As soon as they could hear it rattling in the jar, they were inspired. Each made butter then ate it on cinnamon bread… They worked hard, accomplished their goal, then enjoyed it.”

Reciting a list of the graduates’ current attributes that she assembled by talking to teachers, Pappas included: interested in learning and life, willing to help, kindness, leadership, deep thinkers, responsible and fun, easy to teach and work with, able to bring out the best in each other.

Pappas used one of the tissues from the box she brought with her to the podium and concluded by saying she sees the graduates continuing “to be inspired, accomplish goals and benefit from it.”

Befitting a class with so much promise, Butteville had five valedictorians who each had perfect 4.0 grade point averages their eighth grade year and each spoke during the graduation ceremony: Mallory Pappas, Andrew Matheson, Jacque               Dodson, Stephanie Darger, and Johanna Stensaas.

Salutatorian Jacob Turner addressed the crowd, too, just before two entertaining student duos provided glances backwards and ahead.

Paige Miller and Taylor Harris presented “Student Memories,” then Elijah Walker and Austin Bruch gave the “Class Prophecy,” with humorous predictions of the graduates’ futures.

Student speakers thanked families, teachers, coaches, classmates, and their small but supportive community.

They reflected on lessons learned, wisdom gained, and the excitement of outings over the years to places like French Creek, Turtle Bay, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Shasta River, Black Butte, UC Davis, and Six Flags.

Sandra Haugen presented the PTO Sue Farnsworth Scholarship to graduate Hannah Hobbs, noting Hannah’s perseverance, grade point average and relations with peers.

Dr. Jack Runnels presented Kiwanis Citizenship Awards to Giordan Stenmark and Elijah Walker.

Each graduate walked to the front of the stage with a letter of appreciation to their parents, who stood to receive the letters from student ushers.