Smiles of joy, sombre moments as Mount Si’s Class of 2012 graduates | Slideshow
By CAROL LADWIG
Snoqualmie Valley Record Staff Reporter
June 14, 2012 · Updated 8:38 AM
“I remember graduation. I remember that feeling of elation and freedom, and I’m excited for them.”
Ann Landry, at her youngest daughter Sarah’s graduation from Mount Si High School Friday, was all smiles and a little introspective after the mostly rain-free ceremony. She was also practical.
“I feel like my responsibility for helping with homework is done!” she laughed. But mostly, she and her husband, Greg Pfiffner were proud of Sarah.
In the stands just before the big event, Rebecca Rowe’s family were in high spirits, her older sisters teasing her mother.
“Hey Connie, do you think it’s going to rain?” Stephanie asks. “She’s been singing ‘Blue Skies’ all day!”
Mom, though, was more focused on when she might start crying. “I brought a box of Kleenex,” she announced.
Heather, meanwhile, was reliving her own memories of graduating from Mount Si two years earlier. “I sold my principal’s car on craigslist, and he retired,” she sighed.
As the graduates walked in, Lisa and Chance Rogers scanned the column for their daughter, Jacqueline Carlson.
“Do you see her? She’s wearing her black boots. Thank God it’s not raining!”
Chance, a graduate of Mount Si himself, proudly described how Jacqueline would soon receive her AA degree through Running Start. “She didn’t spend much time at the school these last two years, but she’s here now,” he said. “She’s going to the University for an engineering degree.”
Naomi Stern, sitting in the stands in a dress with a handful of shivering relatives from California, summed up her feelings about daughter Victoria Nicholson’s graduation, in one breathless sentence. “I’m sad and happy and proud and nervous.”
Mount Si High School’s Class of 2012 shared most of those feelings as they said their goodbyes and celebrated huge victories, with a few bittersweet moments.
“Every day of your life, remember how lucky you are,” Landon Edwards advised in the class address. “Live for Cody, and for Morgan. Remember how their passing brought us together as a class and as a community.”
Cody Botten and Morgan Penry, Mount Si students who died in 2010 and 2009, respectively, would have graduated with the class of 2012. A bouquet of roses and a photo marked the seat that would have been Penry’s.
The moment was somber, but the intent of Edwards comment, and the atmosphere of celebration were too strong to sustain sad thoughts.
Riley Edwards, who spoke with sister Landon on the “Ten Ways to Say Goodbye” encouraged her classmates to “Go out there and change, and be changed…because in the end, life is a crazy and precious adventure.”
In the audience, and on the podium, that spirit grew and grew.
“OK, audience, you guys have been awesome,” Principal John Belcher said in preparing to award the diplomas. “If you could refrain from long, loud, boisterous celebrations as the graduates names are called...”
The announcement of “Spencer Randall” was followed by a flock of air horns going off. “Katy Davenport” was answered with a chorus of “woo-woo-woos.”
“Robert Rollins” resulted in a general uproar. And, last to receive his diploma, Chace Carlson would have quietly done so, if not for about half the class shouting his name for him, before Riley Edwards jumped to the microphone to make the official announcement.
Principal John Belcher, at the conclusion of his “rookie year’s” commencement couldn’t stop smiling, either. “That ceremony was just a reflection of the whole year,” he said, “how great the kids were.” Looking at his hands, still sticky with the sugary grit of the Peeps that students kept handing him after receiving their diploma, he shrugged. “I’m assuming it’s because I always call ‘em my peeps.”
After the ceremony, Opstad teacher Karen Eddy contentedly walks to her car. She’s also in a dress, and a little cold, but she says, she does it out of respect.
“These were my fourth graders,” she said, gesturing back toward the graduating class. “I always told ‘em, ‘I’ll be at your graduation, and you better be, too!’ I’ve taught some of their parents. I figure, when I get the grandkids, I’m done!”
Contact Snoqualmie Valley Record Staff Reporter Carol Ladwig at email@example.com.