Two Rivers sends 10 into the world

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Two Rivers School graduated 10 seniors on an emotional Wednesday night last week as a standing-room only crowd of relatives and friends swelled with pride.

Brittanie Anderberg, Christina Cullen, Karen Kearns, Tamara Thurston, Vernon Calhoun, Kelsey Euerle, Michael Montgomery, Kali Jones and Jessica Runyon all received diplomas and gave short speeches about their time at Two Rivers. Harry Coles also graduated, but was not present.

For the last 18 years, Two Rivers has graduated 320 students, all of whom must have heeded the Two Rivers mantra of "choice, goal-setting and personal responsibility."

Snoqualmie Valley School District Board of Directors member Kristy Sullivan was guest speaker. She stood in for superintendent Rich McCullough who was present, but unable to speak due to pneumonia.

Sullivan spoke about her educational journey as a young adult who spent four quarters at Western Washington University before dropping out "to become a ski bum in Aspen, Colo.," because she didn't quite know what she wanted to do with her life. She eventually figured it out with the support of her family, however.

"You're a part of us," Sullivan told the graduates. "With all of our hearts this community cares about you and the decisions you make. Carry on, take care, congratulations and be safe."

Each student spoke following a carefully crafted introduction by one of the teachers.

Cullen was introduced by Michael Schmidt, who said she was "exciting and inspiring to watch."

"Mom and Dad, I couldn't be up here without your support," Cullen said, noting her "friends helped me pass the time too quickly."

Sherm Simmons told Kearns' story that has literally been a journey, mostly between California and Oklahoma, where she will return to attend college in hopes of becoming a forensic pathologist.

"Many people in this room have been great to me," Kearns said. "I've had so much support. I hope we all take paths that are fitted to us and not fall into conformity," she told her classmates.

Next, Simmons introduced Montgomery as a sports fanatic who used to wear enough sports pins to warrant the nickname "pin cushion."

"First of all, I want to thank my Lord, Jesus Christ for being there for me," Montgomery said. "Thanks to my grandparents for always being there for me when others weren't ... I also want to thank my heroes, the class of 2005."

Jack Webber introduced Calhoun with some tidbits about his life, which began in Turkey. Calhoun enjoys listening to grunge music, skateboarding, reading biographies "and wants everyone to know that Courtney Love really did kill Kurt Cobain," Webber said.

"I want to thank all of my friends and my family, who urged me to finish, and the teachers, they're cool," Calhoun said.

Webber also introduced Euerle. "Two Rivers is often referred to as a school for students who are way out there. Kelsey is not way out there, Kelsey is way, way, way out there," said Webber, who rattled off Euerle's legion of activities, sports and outreach work accomplishments. She's done everything from training horses to riding her bike 60 miles to raise money for a kid's camp.

"I'd really like to thank the teachers at Two Rivers who taught me to dream high and to work hard for what I want," Euerle said.

Laurie Weinkauf introduced Thurston, who has been very involved in theater over the years and has directed several plays. She hopes to become a high-school drama teacher.

"I owe this graduation to a lot of people in my life - my friends and family who want to see me succeed. I also thank my teachers," said Thurston, noting it's one thing to have encouragement from your family, "but it's another thing to hear it from teachers who don't have to be invested in you."

Elise Cooksley introduced Runyon. "She's one of those students who reinforces why I wanted to be a teacher," Cooksley said.

"My school has given me the ultimate gift - confidence," Runyon said. "I want to thank Tom [Anthanases] for being the best principal and mentor. You truly created a family at this school."

Last, but far from least, came Anderberg, whose name was met with cheers from the crowd. Anderberg was called "a constantly evolving person," "one of the most enthusiastic readers" and a "live wire."

Anderberg also thanked her friends and family, along with principal Tom Anthanases. "You're the goofiest principal I've ever had. There's no other principal who could have walked me through the past four years of my life. ... "I also thank the teachers, specifically Jack, because math would of never happened without you."

Awards were also presented during the commencement. Runyon took home the Rotary Club Student Award and the Sno-Valley Eagles Woman's Auxiliary Scholarship Award; Anderberg won the United Snoqualmie Valley Scholarship Foundation Award; and Euerle received the Kiwanis Scholarship Award.

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