Fifteen seniors tossed their caps in the air on Friday evening, May 31, to celebrate their graduation from Joseph Charter School. “It is an outstanding class,” said principal Sherri Kilgore. “Three valedictorians, each with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Our Salutatorian had a 3.91 GPA. And the top ten students all had GPAs above 3.71” The Class of 2019’s remarkable records extend to things beyond academic brilliance. The 15 students amassed a cumulative total of only 5 (five) referrals to the office in their entire four years of high school. “It was mostly for things like being tardy in the morning,” Kilgore said. “Throughout their years here, all the kids in this class were just great people.”

Virtually all of the students will move on to the next level of education. The class of 2019 garnered more than $595,000 in scholarships and academic awards. Some examples include: Valedictorian Natalie Gorham earned a four-year scholarship of $24,800 per year to Gonzaga University. Co-Valedictorian Kana Oliver was awarded a four-year scholarship for $31,000 per year to the College of Idaho, and co-valedictorian and golf sensation Victoria Suto is headed for the college of St. Mary on athletic and academic scholarships totalling $18,000 per year.

Kilgore attributes much of their success in school, and in planning futures that fit each student, to the guidance they received and the senior projects that they completed. Students undertake a project closely related to the career they are interested in. For example, Tyler Homan, who aspires to becoming a mechanical engineer, taught STEM classes to JCS 4th-graders. Valedictorian Victoria Suto, who is looking toward a future in the arts, helped create a community mural.

At the graduation ceremony, Kana Oliver performed the National Anthem. Megan Smith and retiring teacher Marla Dotson offered sage advice as honorary speakers, and the triumvirate of valedictorians spoke briefly to the gathered friends, family, and faculty.

Then it was time to toss caps in the air and move on with life. The recessional anthem, “Don’t Stop Me Now,” by Queen, said it all.

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