REGENT, N.D. (AP) - A 19-year-old graduating this weekend is the last of a long family line at a small North Dakota high school - at least for the time being.
The Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/1R9cRtd ) reports the Gion family’s time in Regent dates back 115 years and six generations. Allison Gion is graduating Sunday from Mott-Regent High School as the 57th graduate in her family. But she’s also the last one in the school.
“It’s an honor. I’ll leave a proud name behind. They’ve all done pretty well and have good characters. I mean, we’re loud, but that’s just being from such a big family,” Allison Gion said.
Gion’s linage started with her great-great-grandfather Jacob Gion, who emigrated from Hungary in 1900, following his two older sons who had arrived in 1898. Jacob Gion had five sons and two daughters who lived to adulthood. Four of those sons had 30 children among them, creating a swirl of double cousins. Patriarch Jacob is buried in a little country cemetery northeast of Regent, surrounded by the fields and farms he helped settle long ago.
The Gion family had become so rooted in Regent that in 1971 there were 30 kids with the same name in school. As Jim Gion, a local attorney, jokes, “You’d ask a girl to go to prom and find out your cousin beat you to it.”
A Gion family reunion in 1987 was attended by more than 600 people.
Many younger members of the Gion family have left the small community. Several young Goins still in Regent aren’t yet married or have children to start entering school.
Allison Gion is the salutatorian of her class of 15 students. She’s planning to go off to college, but she says she may come back to Regent someday.
“I really like it here,” she said. “I’d miss Regent. I’m not gonna lie.”
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com
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