CHS Seniors graduate

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KIRKLAND - Twelve years after they first started, dressed in caps and gowns, 156 seniors from Cedarcrest High School entered a new era in their lives June 19 and received their diplomas during the schoolOs commencement ceremony.

The school graduated its eighth class of seniors at City Church in Kirkland. The program began with the Cedarcrest band playing "Pomp and Circumstance" as graduates walked down the sanctuary's aisle.

The welcome address was made by co-valedictorian and student body president Candice Shepherd and student body vice president Lindsay Peterson. They thanked their teachers and other staff members and said that without them nothing would be possible. The two also gave thanks to their parents, mentors, families and friends for supporting them throughout their high-school careers.

A speech called "Remember the Past as You Enter the Future" was given by Shepherd, co-valedictorian Emily Fletcher and salutatorian Stacia Costello. The three took turns reciting the address that began with the question, "Where did the past 12 years go?"

First they talked about elementary school, where they "lived and breathed for recess," where boys aimed to get as dirty as possible and girls worried about getting their "polka-dot leggings" soiled.

Apple computers were the extent of technology back then, and they looked forward to playing Math Munchers and a typing game in the computer lab - a far cry from today's world of the Internet and other technological wonders. Elementary-school highlights also included being the best at wall ball, getting their name on the tooth chart, and finding the sharpest red crayon.,When the girls moved on to sixth grade, they said their interests turned to "fashionable trends of the time," such as baggy clothes, boxer shorts, and Champion socks worn with sandals.

"Conformity seemed to be a goal for all of us, but not all," Peterson said.

In eighth grade they ruled the school, or so they thought. It was really just another end to yet another beginning.

In high school, new challenges included getting up earlier, attending classes more than one hour long and later overcoming Osenioritis.O Despite all that, they still remembered the fun times, such as pep rallies, dances and football games.

They ended their speech with a Ralph Waldo Emerson poem called "Success."

The trio was followed by Rachel Riesz, who sang the "Greatest Love Of All" by Whitney Houston. She received the Outstanding Drama Student Award for performance this year.

Hadley Rose gave a speech entitled "That's What We Will Remember." Rose was chosen by the student body to give the senior speech this year. She was also awarded the most honors and scholarships of any senior, among them the Donna Polacek Memorial Scholarship, the Puget Sound Energy Dependent Scholarship and the Outstanding Advanced Placement Student Award.

Rose talked about her experience of coming to a new school after having lived in Eastern Washington. She recalled the insecurities that accompany being the new kid, such as making friends with students who seemed intimidating and worries of whether she would be accepted in the tight-knit group of students that made up the class. She cautioned her classmates not to lose the friendships they had worked hard to establish.

"Just because we're being replaced doesn't mean we should replace each other," Rose said.

Rose will attend Penn State University in the fall to study biological engineering, a new major for the school.

"I'm sad to leave people, but not sad to be done," she said. "We worked hard for this."

Track coach and marketing education teacher Marc Hillestad amused the audience with a speech called "Peanut Butter And Jelly," which began with the squeeze of a toy that emitted a cow sound.

"I figure if youOre coming to Kirkland, you ought to take some of the Valley with you," he said.

His advice to the graduates was comprised of a list of things not to do, one being, "Don't always believe everything you read." He referred to the directions on a typical bottle of shampoo which read, "Lather, rinse and repeat," and then pointed to his balding head.

Also on the list were wise words like, "Don't forget to look under your chairs when you are sitting somewhere listening to a motivational speaker," such as himself. The students quickly looked underneath their seats, and many found small tokens of his affection, such as a can of tuna, which was underneath Principal Clarence Lavarias' seat.

Hillestad also said, "Do not let your quest for possessions be your obsession, and do not ever feel that you are alone," a comforting thought for those about to strike out on their own. And finally, he added, "Do not be strangers."

The ceremony ended with the song "It's So Hard to Say Good-bye" written by Boys II Men, and sung a cappella by seniors Tyler Jensen, Chris Lambert, Devin Bazemore and Adam Wegener.

Although the graduates will miss the friendships they have made and the teachers who influenced them, they are glad to be leaving and are excited about the new challenges they will face.

Senior David Azami is one of them. He is joining a five-year program as an electrician's apprentice with Local 46 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Seattle.

"I couldn't handle another year," Azami said. "But I will miss hanging out with everyone

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