May 31, 2022 at 2:16 p.m.
Holdingford graduate inspired by her family
Anna Hartung will graduate from Holdingford High School Friday, June 3, the oldest of Greg and Ema Hartung’s seven children. Her mother and siblings – Erin, 16, Emily, 14, Seth, 12, Landon, 8, Avery, 6, and Ella, 4 – will be there, but her dad will not.
Greg passed away following a heart attack May 2, 2020, but he left a lasting impact on the life of this teenager who hopes one day to work with young children. She is inspired by her mother who is raising their family.
“Dad taught me to be respectful and responsible,” Anna said May 26, the morning after her last day of high school.
His impact on her young life – she was 15 at the time – is described in a memoir she wrote in 2022.
Life was going on normally and then her dad was gone.
“He was so nice and put everybody else before him,” she said.
Some of that has rubbed off on Anna, who is known for her kindness.
She will be among the 66 Holdingford seniors graduating Friday during a 7 p.m. ceremony in the high school gym. The class colors are green and black. The class flower is the sunflower. The class song is “22” by Taylor Swift, and the class motto is “Life’s a garden: dig it.”
Anna has had a busy high school career at a school her dad also attended.
“I’ve been in theatre for four years, played volleyball five years, been on the basketball team, and I am on the National Honor Society, Project 4 Teens and student council,” she said.
Involvement in sports was a natural fit because she plays sports with her siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins during gatherings.
She enjoyed being on stage during the many musicals or one-act plays in which she participated.
“My favorite was probably ‘Back to the ‘80s,’ because I got to play three or four characters,” she said.
Language arts and gym were her favorite subjects, and she’s quick to admit math was not.
She is excited – and a bit nervous – about attending Concordia College in Moorhead this fall, focusing on early elementary education with a goal of teaching at a small school. It will be her first time leaving home for an extended period of time.
Until then, Anna will spend time with friends and family. She will work as a teacher’s assistant at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Cloud this summer, a perfect fit for her because she is used to being around children.
“I’m sure that’s because I have so many siblings and a big family on both sides,” she said.
Anna admits it is hard to believe she is graduating.
“It doesn’t feel real, yet,” she said.
But the graduation cap, gown and tassel she has is proof of that.
She is looking forward to Friday and being with her classmates before they all go their separate ways.
Anna figures her dad, who loved to watch movies, play sports and go to the zoo with his family, would think it is crazy their oldest child is graduating, but he would be a proud dad, especially since she is graduating from a school he graduated from.
“I feel like he was just here,” she said.
And her dad will be – in spirit – as Anna graduates Friday night with a happy heart.