Seniors challenged to overcome obstacles

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SNOQUALMIE VALLEY - A gymnasium full of parents, teachers and a whole lot of eager students were more than willing to brave a hot evening last week to mark a day in their lives few people ever forget.

Although all the open doors couldn't stop the mass of onlookers from fanning themselves with programs, the heat didn't stop Mount Si High School from graduating 228 students in its class of 2002 on Friday, June 14.

"As educators, this is our reward for all the work," said Mount Si Vocational Director and Dean of Students Thomas Mosby. "It's why we take the lumps and the bumps."

Parents packed the stands of the school's gymnasium, reminiscing on all the work they and their children had accomplished to get to that night.

"She did so much hard work to get here," said Jack Miller, who attended to see niece Neyssa Miller graduate. "She's a dream girl."

Some parents even remembered their own high-school years. Whether they graduated from a larger or smaller school, or from a school in or out of the Valley, they agreed that being a high-school student had not gotten any easier.

"I think it's harder to be a teen-ager," said Bernice Meeker, who attended to see the graduation of her grandson, Brandon Bos. "With all the peer pressure they have to deal with, it seems so stressful."

The class of 2002 had four valedictorians and one salutatorian - Cristina Boals, Lindsey Bergeron, Cora Fix, Carie Frantz and Cassy Gorton, respectively - honors usually given to only two students.

"I really couldn't remember a more talented group of valedictorians," Principal Dave Humphrey said. In all, of the 228 seniors 105 graduated with honors and garnered well over $1.6 million in scholarship money.

The ceremony also featured musical performances by two students, including an original song performed by graduate Ryan Stanton-Wyman called "Doorways."

"As you can see, we have some very talented students," Humphrey said.

The ceremony began with a moment of silence for four Mount Si students, Amanda Baldwin, Abby Cunningham, Dane Rempfer and Carly Stauch, who died in previous years and would have been seniors.

In addition to the loss of classmates, the Sept. 11 attacks were also mentioned throughout the night as life lessons the class learned. Speakers said they realized early in their lives that grief and pain sometimes seem to cloud good things that happen.

But the solidarity of the class, however, was stronger than any challenge it faced.

"You have become such an integral part of my life," Fix said. "May you accept the challenges that face you, bet even when the odds are against you, and seize every opportunity."

By doing that, the class' legacy will be recognized long after the seniors cease walking the halls of Mount Si.

"It's not by our scars that the world will remember us, but by our marks on the world," Frantz said.

The seniors' optimism and eagerness marked the evening, and although some had lingering uncertainties about the future, they resolved to prove they were worth the time and energy they'd received from family and friends.

"I can't wait to see the world once we have been through it," Frantz said.

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