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BOX Pacelli seniors get air time

By Tim Ruzek

Post-Bulletin, Austin MN

Nearly half of Pacelli High School’s graduating class had a tough question to resolve Wednesday night.

Choose between "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N’ Roses and Journey’s "Don’t Stop Believin’."

Preparing for their own post-high school journey, the students opted for Journey to air on the KQPR FM 96.1 radio station Power 96.

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"Welcome to the Jungle," though, later replaced another song on their playlist, giving Guns N’ Roses three tunes for Pacelli’s program.

Five of Pacelli’s 12-person graduating class — six boys and six girls — traveled Wednesday to Albert Lea for pizza, energy drinks and two hours of chatting on air and picking rock tunes.

Pacelli, the Catholic high school in Austin, got its night as part of Power 96’s sixth annual Senior Nights 2008 series in which seniors from area high schools get a two-hour show for one night.

Austin High School seniors will be on Power 96 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday.

Pacelli seniors Alysha Barth and Vanessa Kilby started out the program by themselves.

"This is unbelievable," Kilby said during a commercial break, saying she was sweating from being on air.

Upon the arrival of three other seniors — Ashleigh Smith, Jordan Juenger and Sam Stier — disc jockey Steph Helleksen advised the group not to say anything that would embarrass themselves, their parents, classmates and others.

"It’s all about being positive, looking back," said Helleksen, who talked with them about prom, college plans, summer vacation now being a "done deal" for them and the benefits of attending a small school.

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As for a small class, Barth said it’s good to be close.

"Everybody becomes like a second family," she said.

Barth picked Green Day’s "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" as a graduation song for the show.

Although mostly filled with jokes and light conversation, the show took a somber moment when introducing the Kansas song "Carry On My Wayward Son" as a tribute to former classmate Kellsey Hogan, a 15-year-old who died in a moped crash in August 2006 in Austin.

Smith talked about losing her best friend Kellsey.

"We all love her and we miss her," she said on air.

The tune was Kellsey’s favorite. Kansas played a concert July 13, 2007 — Kellsey’s 16th birthday — in Austin for the Kellsey Jean Memorial Fund.

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Seniors from Austin High are to be on 96.1 FM KQPR ("Power 96") from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday as part of the radio station’s sixth annual Senior Nights 2008.

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