Futures take flight

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Sequim Gazette staff

A Sequim High School commencement tradition sees their graduating seniors take the lead during the ceremony rather than taking a back seat.


The tradition continues.


About 200 students from Sequim High School and Sequim Alternative School accepted honorary diplomas — they get the real ones a few days later — at SHS’s Class of 2013 graduation on June 14.

Enjoying a sunny break in the weather, graduating seniors gave their family, friends and classmates something to cheer about as they said goodbye to their high school days.


“I wish you could peek into my heart and see my love for all of you,” class-elected speaker Vernice (Abi) Lopez said. “There’s so much ahead and so much to live for.”


Lopez said she came to an epiphany during her final term at SHS, after her family saw the deaths of her 7-year-old cousin and a 54-year-old uncle. “I have come to truly appreciate love,” Lopez said.


Sequim High’s quarter of valedictorians gave a joint speech, a fairy tale-inspired speech that saw Derek Chamblin take the role of Goldilocks, Abigail Berry as Cinderella, Austin Law as Tarzan and Ian Jones as Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk.


“We are all writing our own stories,” Chamblin said. “This is an exciting moment but there are much more to come.”


Law added, “There is a happily-ever-after, but it doesn’t end there.”


The school’s graduation ceremony once again celebrated a graduating senior who overcame difficult circumstances to earn a diploma. Principal Shawn Langston presented Morgan Seamands with the U-Turn Award, a u-shaped piece of rebar bent by a motivational speaker and recast as an honor for one senior’s persistence and determination.


Langston urged his young charges to enjoy their next steps into adulthood. “I challenge you to live on the success road,” he said. “Enjoy the journey, not the destination.”


In his first SHS commencement speech, Sequim schools superintendent Kelly Shea told the graduating class that any negative attitude toward their peer group — that they are unmotivated, impatient and lack work ethic — is simply wrong.


“You are part of the Millennial Generation, a generation who sees the world differently than those who have come before you,” Shea said. “You are less materialistic than people think. You are more aware and empathetic of the social problems we face. You are more concerned for the future of our planet, the health of others, and your own personal happiness.”


As of June 18, more than 190 students from the high school and alternative school had earned diplomas, with the number shifting in coming days thanks to grades from several Running Start students coming in.


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