Two-by-two, a total of nineteen seniors walked to their graduation stage on Saturday morning, as a bevy of local musicians played the traditional Pomp and Circumstance march. After the ceremony they would be bound for diverse futures, including heavy equipment operator, security and protective services, rangeland management, agriculture, civil engineering, medical school, and teaching. The talented Class of 2019 earned a total of 295 credit hours of college credits while still in high school, and garnered $321,500 in scholarships, financial assistance, and awards to support their future plans. “Local scholarships and sources provided most of those funds,” said school counselor Dr. Dawn Crow. “The seniors and all of us are very grateful for the Wallowa County community.”
High School principal David Howe offered parting words to the seniors: “Think about what you deserve. ‘Deserves’ has everything to do with your future. Life does not respond to what you need or want. It responds to what you deserve through effort, hard work, thought and thoughtfulness, and how you navigate obstacles.”
Co-Valedictorians Riley Ferre’ and Rylee Goller reminisced about the best, funniest, and most interesting times experienced throughout the class of 2019’s academic career. Their remembrances echoed the class slide show, which included each senior’s favorite quote. Among them: “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.” (Groucho Marx); “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will have neither.” (Benjamin Franklin) and “We’re adults. When did that happen? And how do we make it stop?” (Dr. Meredith Gray).
Judith Shike, Class of 2009, delivered a moving commencement address that recounted how she overcame the challenges she has faced during the decade since graduation. “Life inevitably throws us curve balls,” she noted. “But remember that it is usually our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” She told the story of a young Syrian refugee who rescued her family from drowning when their flimsy raft began to sink. That girl went on to become a world-class Olympic swimmer despite all her early travails. “Set goals, fall in love with everything, and never give up,” Shike said.
With a class motto of “Our lives are before us, Our pasts are behind us. But our memories are forever with us.” Wallowa High School’s class of 2019 is on its way.