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Last of 11 siblings graduates from Orem

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Liesl Hansen, center, sits with her parents, Susan and Gary, and six of her 11 siblings after she graduated from Orem High School.

Liesl Hansen, center, sits with her parents, Susan and Gary, and six of her 11 siblings after she graduated from Orem High School.

Stuart Johnson, Deseret News

OREM — Graduation day was anything but ho-hum for Liesl Hansen, a senior at Orem High School, although her parents may be a bit tired of graduation ceremonies.

That's because Liesl is the 11th — and final — Hansen child to graduate from Orem High. And she walked to "Pomp and Circumstance" Friday afternoon along with her nephew David Bergeson — who is six weeks older than Liesl.

David is the son of Liesl's oldest sister, Paula, 39.

When parents Gary and Susan Hansen moved to Orem from Texas in 1983, Paula started as a sophomore at Orem High. The Hansen family stayed in the area.

"There was no reason to move again. We just added to the house," said Susan, 61.

Gary, 64, teaches information systems at Brigham Young University.

The Hansen clan includes Paula, 39; Neil, 37; Bruce, 36; Craig, 34; JoEllen, 32; Brian, 30; Kent, 28; Kurt, 26; Heidi, 23; Tyler, 21; and finally, Liesl, 18.

"This is the end of the Hansen kids at Orem High School," Susan said.

If the 11 siblings took their high school yearbooks and stacked them, that would be quite the pile, remarked Liesl's older brother Bruce.

"Orem High is a great school, and we all have something in common," he said.

Each Hansen sibling has been interested in different things during high school — band, orchestra, newspaper staff. Liesl was into drama programs. Many teachers remember Kurt the most. He was quite energetic, played the piano and was really into sports.

Liesl, being the last, said it was kind of awkward when her siblings' old teachers would compare her to her brothers or sisters. "They would say 'You're a Hansen. You must be smart.'"

She jokingly added, "I proved them all wrong."

Susan said she has no idea how many trips to Orem High she or her husband has made. "My kids mostly took the bus," she said.

Susan and Gary have sat through 11 graduation ceremonies — but there is a reward at the end. The post-graduation family tradition is to go out to a local gourmet hamburger restaurant in Provo.

"It's the only place that can fit the whole family and that we can afford," Susan said.

Liesl said, "I love the cheese fries."

Susan reflected that many families would be happy to have their children all graduate from high school, but the Hansens demand more.

"We're pleased and proud all our children graduated from high school," she said. "But we hope they go on to college. High school is kind of a stepping stone for them."

Liesl is headed to BYU-Idaho this fall.

E-mail: astewart@desnews.com