Seniors file into Mount Si Stadium and wave at family members in the audience at Mount Si High School’s commencement ceremony Friday. Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo

Saying good-bye to Mount Si: Class of 2017 celebrates graduation from Mount Si High School Friday

The Class of 2017 is a stellar class, Mount Si High School Principal John Belcher announced Friday night, just before the seniors in that class were to receive their diplomas, and he wanted everyone to know it.

Throughout the windy evening, marked by the occasional rain shower and a rainbow during the three valedictorians’ speeches, Belcher enumerated the 442 students’ accomplishments in academics — 58 percent of the graduating class met the requirements to be on the honor roll; athletics and extra curricular activities — 20 students have been awarded full or partial scholarships to pursue sports or the arts in college; and community service — National Honor Society students recorded thousands of hours of volunteer work, at home and abroad.

Mason Marenco was named Athlete of the Year in both wrestling and baseball in the past year. The school’s Jazz Band I returned for a fourth consecutive year to the Essentially Ellington Festival in New York, open to only the top 15 high school jazz bands in the country.

Lauren Zinkan is the number-one public forum debater in the state and 77th in the nation, following her appearance in May at the national Tournament of Champions. Riley Ovall and Jake Weidenbach were the Wildcat Seniors of the Year.

Fifty-one seniors participated in Running Start through Bellevue College, earning their associate’s degrees this year, and starting school next year as college juniors. Ellison Brink, a Running Start student, was also the two-time state champion in student mountain biking.

The class included 12 National Merit Scholars, including a National Merit Semi-Finalist, Rahul Rajkumar, and a National Hispanic Scholar, Auni Edwards.

The recognition could have gone on indefinitely, but Belcher made a point of recognizing a few groups, including those students planning to pursue military service after graduation. They are: Nathan McCollough, Marines; Kade McNamara, Navy; Brennan Dalgleish and Cameron Thomas Stone, Coast Guard; Rylan Cummings and Sean Andresen, Army; and Annalee Reid, National Guard.

 

Hunter Dow, swathed in a raincoat, smiles before graduation began Friday night. Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo

Principal John Belcher congratulates a line of seniors from the Class of 2017. Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo

Breaking into the senior seating just before the ceremony begins, a Mount Si freshman gives one last hug to several of her senior friends. Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo

A line of seniors anxiously await the calling of their names to receive their diplomas. Mary Miller Photo

Mount Si High School Principal John Belcher introduced valedictorian Emma Eubanks during graduation. Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo

Donavan See, one of the Class of 2017’s three valedictorians, spoke to his fellow graduates about how their actions and beliefs will define them. Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo

Students going into the military included: Natnan McCollough, Marines; Kade McNamara, Navy; Brennan Dalgleish, Coast Guard; Rylan Cummings, Army; Sean Andresen, Army; Annalee Reid, National Guard; and Cameron Thomas Stone, Coast Guard. Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo

After receiving his diploma, a graduate clicks his heels together. Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo

Principal John Belcher congratulates a student who has just received her diploma. Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo

The newest graduates of Mount Si High School celebrated their accomplishments Friday night with the traditional cap toss following commencement ceremonies at Mount Si Stadium. Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo