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‘This is our moment’

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For all the wind and rain and overcast skies in the days leading up to Friday’s commencement ceremony, these graduating high school seniors got nothing short of perfectly blue skies.

As one senior put it, these Sequim High School pups are now full-grown Wolves.

Sequim High students, faculty, parents and friends celebrated the school’s commencement ceremony in brief-yet-grand style on June 11 as more than 200 students turned their tassels and waved goodbye to their senior year.

Sequim schools superintendent Bill Bentley lauded the class not only for their exploits but also for their determination.

“Your achievement is significant,” he said. “This is the only life event I can think of that takes 13 years to complete.”

Bentley’s remarks were curt, in that this commencement ceremony truly was led start to finish by the senior class, from its graduation choir to its seven-part valedictorian speech from all seven top scholars, to faculty- and student-chosen speakers.

“It is time to look forward and ask the question, ‘Who do I want to be when I grow up?’” said graduate Anna LaBeaume, the faculty-selected senior. “This is our celebration. The future is our time. Here’s to us, our evolution.”

Isaac Powell was the students’ choice to speak and hardly disappointed, deftly moving from wise-beyond-his-years, sage advice to shout-outs and inside jokes.

“I was the quiet high school kid with the blond afro. Somehow, four years later, I stand here the class speaker,” he pondered.

“This is our moment. Today, we embark on the journey of our lives.”

Principal Shawn Langston and faculty honored one student who’s already had quite a journey, detailing how Viridiana Sanchez Aguirre came to Sequim five years ago knowing little English and struggling mightily in her high school career. After making big strides academically in the past year or so, Sanchez was able to walk with her fellow seniors Friday night as an SHS graduate.

She earned the school’s 2010 U-Turn Award, an honor bestowed upon students who overcome significant challenges to graduate from high school.

And while the messages from each speaker often found some sort of serious parcel of advice to pass on or affirmation that these graduating seniors are capable of solving daunting challenges ahead, each of them found a way to remind the group to hold on to a youthful, energetic spirit.
Or, as Bentley quoted “Winnie the Pooh” creator A.A. Milne, “Be a Tigger — not an Eeyore.”

Reach Michael Dashiell at miked@sequimgazette.com.

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