The Sequim High School graduates of 2009 may be facing the worst economic climate and job market in nearly 80 years, but one couldn't tell it by the smiles on the faces of nearly 200 graduates at Sequim's athletic field Friday evening.
With hundreds of family and friends in attendance enjoying unmarred, azure-laden skies, these Wolves talked of making a difference in the world before turning their tassels.
"It is imperative we each know our full potential," said senior Robbie Blenk, the faculty-elected speaker. "Each of us has the potential to be the next great hero."
Shawn Langston, Sequim High School's principal, set the tone for the evening by referencing the song "I Was Here" by Antebellum, asking the young men and women to "do something that matters."
Sequim's commencement ceremony featured all four valedictorians - Olivia Boots, Eric Huston, Laura Moser and Teyloure Ring - who offered bits of wisdom for their classmates.
"Make yourselves aware of problems in society," Boots advised. "Remember tolerance as you go through life."
Huston asked his classmates to focus on one life rather than trying to change everything.
"While no person can save the world, one person can make a difference," he said.
Moser reeled off 10 lessons she learned in high school, insisting that: working together can produce miracles; friends can come from unexpected places; and grammar at 3 in the morning is different than grammar at any other time.
Ring looked well beyond high school,
asking her class to make positive changes to the world they soon enter.
"It is up to us to speak our minds," she said. "The world is listening and we will be heard."
Senior Jordan Bush's efforts were heard loud and clear by staff as he earned the U-Turn award, an honor bestowed upon graduates who have made significant changes in their academic, social or other parts of their lives to get through to graduation. Bush, who has plans to pursue a career in firefighting, had to make up eight credits in his final year.
His efforts were echoed in superintendent Bill Bentley's message Friday.
"The race is not always to the swift,' Bentley said in a paraphrase of Ecclesiastes, "but to those who keep running."
The class of 2009 has a good start to their next steps in education, garnering more than $2.4 million in scholarships, more than $300,000 of that from local sources.
Reach Michael Dashiell at miked@
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