Slideshow | The moment arrives: Cedarcrest’s ‘sparkling’ Class of 2012 looks back on high school lessons, ahead to new dawn
By SETH TRUSCOTT
Snoqualmie Valley Record Editor
June 19, 2012 · 2:41 PM
As Cedarcrest High School’s Class of 2012 filed past, eyes firmly fixed on the future, English teacher Michelle Parish’s high-fives and smiling face gave them one last high school connection.
“All these kids are hard workers,” Parish said after the last robed graduate had passed. “They’re funny. They kind of sparkle, this class. They break out in song in the middle of class. You leave the room, and they’ll end up dancing. They’re a sweet group.”
As commencement ended, to the tune of The Wailers’ “Three Little Birds,” Cedarcrest’s 198 former seniors, filed out of Redmond’s Overlake Community Church for hundreds of embraces, many smiles and tears.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” said Shawna Ventura, awaiting her son Jeffrey Cox, following the ceremony.
Cox had been challenged by many surgeries and health issues, and “we thought he wouldn’t graduate until he was 21,” Ventura said. “He’s graduating with his peers all on his own.”
To celebrate, a big family gathering with many siblings and two sets of grandmas and grandpas had come to town.
“Everybody came,” Ventura said.
“It feels wonderful and I’m glad that it’s over,” said just-graduated Jazmin Baker, who surrounded herself with friends, rushing from group to group as the balmy evening fell June 15. “You know, I’m going to miss everybody here. It’s a touching time.”
“It’s kind of unreal,” said Alena Scott, who helped emcee the ceremony. “It hit me the moment I got my diploma.” After Cedarcrest, she’ll attend Bellevue College, then pursue a career in teaching.
“Honestly, it feels exactly the same as walking through a door,” said grad Addison Stillion. “I don’t really feel that different. I’m just on my way to the next thing.”
That next thing will be two years of study at Bellevue College, followed by a mission for Addison’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Words to remember
Music, laughter, lessons and heartfelt words marked Cedarcrest’s 19th commencement.
“Today, we stand at the edge of a great adventure,” said student emcee Alena Scott. We are going forward into a new world, and leaving behind friends, teachers and old ways.”
“We are all unique and confident,” she said.
“It is a time of growth and learning about the world,” added co-emcee John Collin Hall. “Class of 2012, remember this time, and never forget where you came from.”
To valedictorian speaker Kathryn McClintic, graduation finally became real to her that evening, as she donned cap and gown.
“Never again will I have to wake up at 5:20, try to prevent a fashion apocalypse, grab my double-shot soy latte and race the bell as I hurry to class,” she remarked.
In her speech, McClintic offered what advice she could to fellow grads.
“What I learned, I learned from you,” she said. “All I can tell is, you cannot do it alone.”
McClintic said she struggled to find her place in school. Looking, back, she remembered the “people who stepped in at the right moment to encourage us, comfort us… teachers, mentors, our parents, all stood by us.”
She regretted that she didn’t collaborate more in high school.
“In the future, surround yourself with people who challenge you,” the valedictorian said. “Allow them to show you a different angle…. Only by working together can we reach our full potential.”
The keynote speaker, Cedarcrest teacher Dan Armstrong, shared “Lies my teachers (and other grown ups) told me.”
Humor mixed with hard realities in Armstrong’s speech to the graduates. The truth is, he said, that life will go on at Cedarcrest, and that the perks of youth, of being protected, motivated and celebrated—are at an end.
“Now, on the cusp of adulthood, you need to be aware that when you walk out those doors tonight, things are going to get a lot harder,” Armstrong said. “Your professors, bosses, the world at large, don’t know who you are, and are not yet impressed. You need to know what they already know: For every winner, there’s a loser. That effort should never be mistaken for results. Respect for your elders and superiors is the norm. You don’t check text messages in a lecture or meeting. And that luck is a big factor in success, and it is not distributed evenly. Work ethic is not something to be scoffed at, and ambition is not a four-letter word.”
“Now you’re on our team,” Amstrong continued. “You’re just starting your adult lives, and the possibilities before you are nearly limitless. It won’t be easy, but few things worth doing are. There will be tough moments along the way, and you will choose whether you see them as obstacles or opportunities.”
Friends, teachers and family will be there to help, he added.
“Just as we’ve helped shape you, we’ll continue to support you. You’ve left our schools with many lasting memories.”
At Cedarcrest, the buses will run, the clubs and sports will continue.
“Cedarcrest won’t be better or worse without you, just different,” Armstrong concluded. “We do appreciate you. We wish you all the best. And we will miss you. That, Class of 2012, is no lie.”
Contact Snoqualmie Valley Record Editor Seth Truscott at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-425-888-2311.