If senior speeches are anything to go by, then the 344 graduates of Mount Si High School’s Class of 2014, have a pretty good sense of who they are. They recognize the irony of sitting down in the morning to a breakfast their mothers made for them, on the day they “officially” enter adulthood, and they see the world of possibilities ahead of them, thanks to those who came before them.
Co-Valedictorians Duncan Deutsch and Lydia Petroske touched on technology a lot in their joint speech, both the silly side of it — an obsession with selfies, and a reminder that “SIRI doesn’t save lives in Africa” — and the opportunities, not just for careers in technology, but for changing the world, through technology and the Internet.
“Do we not see the change in impact we can have?” Deutsch asked his classmates.
Petroske urged them all to “follow your dreams… unlike any other generation before us, it’s really not that hard to do.”
And technology was everywhere in this graduation. The ceremony was streamed online for the first time this year for those who couldn’t get into the stadium or auditorium, or who didn’t want to risk the downpour that grey skies threatened, but never delivered. A pair of iPod earbuds was seen dangling from at least one grad’s neck, and the audience was a sea of mobile phones snapping photos. One student kept her phone handy so she could take a post-diploma selfie with Principal John Belcher and a friend. After the ceremony, people were either hugging and snapping photos, or had phones to their ears shouting “Where are you? I’m by the…” above the din.
Low technology had its moments, too, though. More than one parent came to the ceremony swathed in plastic garbage bags to keep off the rain, and the seniors followed the tradition of handing the principal something (this year, it was a toy foam dart, although one boy pulled a candy bar out of his pocket) to fill his hands while congratulating students. And when everyone had their diplomas, the early celebration began with the release, and eventual recapture, of some beach balls among the graduates.
No matter how many cameras captured the scene, the most important part, the one that will endure at least as long as those digital images and Facebook posts, were the moments themselves. Cheers from family members as the graduates’ names were called. An impulsive hug for Belcher after a boy accepted his diploma. The junior friends and teammates that found Trevor Daniels on “their” football field one last time. When Hannah Hayes, toting a “Go Alanna” sign in one hand and holding her phone to her ear in her other, finally found her sister and gave her a hug — still holding onto everything else.
Mount Si High School will remember the Class of 2014 for still other moments, enumerated by Salutatorian Marcus Deichman and Principal Belcher during their presentations. Eleven seniors were applauded for entering military service: Beau Shain, Devon Wattenbarger, Ryley Absher, Hunter Conway, Tye Rodne, Jackson Foster, Camden Foucht, Matthew Everett, Alexander Schiekle, Velvet Weber and Keldon Back. Seventeen were singled out for earning both their high school diplomas and associate’s degrees through Running Start. Another 161 students were recognized for academic honors denoted by gold or silver cords and grade-point averages of 3.8, 3.5 or 3.25 for their entire school careers, and 55 were recognized for earning the Washington Honors or Principals Awards,presented to the top 10 percent of students in state.
Eight National Merit Scholars were recognized; when Belcher said they were in the top 5 percent of the 1.5 million seniors graduating this year, an awed murmur rippled through the audience. Emma Bateman and Boone Hapke were recognized for being amoung in the top 1 percent of seniors, and Hapke was honored as a U.S. Presidential Scholarship semifinalist.
The Wildcats also had an amazing year in extra-curricular events, Belcher said, listing the seven sports teams that went on to post-season play, as well as the school’s Knowledge Bowl team placing fifth in state competition, the sports medicine team earning the 12th spot in national competition, Rachel Mallasch’s second-place win in a national video competition, and the Mount Si Jazz Band’s selection for the Essentially Ellington Festival at Lincoln Center, New York.
Belcher congratulated the class and sent them off with the words of Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mount Si students Ali Raphael, left, and Lydia Petroske flip their tassels to mark the passage to graduates at the conclusion of commencement exercises Friday, June 13, at Wildcat Stadium. Three hundred and forty four seniors wrapped up their high school careers at the graduation ceremony, held out of doors.
Co-Valedictorians Duncan Deutsch and Lydia Petroske gave a joint senior speech
No celebration is complete without beach balls.
Bryce Harder smiles after accepting his diploma
An empty seat holds a photo of the Class of 2014's late classmate, Cody Botten.
Carly Goodspeed adds to the pile of toys for Principal Belcher.
Duncan Deutsch is all smiles as he is congratulated by Principal Belcher.
Madelynn Esteb hugs a friend after the cap toss
Logan Cochran wears a lei made of protein bars. A friend made it for him; he planned to eat them.
Dean Sydnor accepts congrats from Principal John Belcher.
Jennifer Dean and Sally Nelson share their excitement as the graduation ceremony starts.
Hannah Hayes totes a “Go Alanna” sign in one hand and works her cell phone with the other, searching for sis Alanna Hayes.
Mount Si High School Principal John Belcher congratulates new graduate Natalie Korssjoen.