As this week draws to a close, three Valley schools will be graduating their seniors and sending them out to face the world. Many will leave the Valley forever shortly after graduation, wanting to explore new worlds. Many will leave for college, or the military, trade school or to a new job.
But one thing is certain, most will never forget their experiences at Mount Si, Two Rivers and Cedarcrest. Snoqualmie Valley has a proud tradition of supporting its schools, and graduating students are the products of our tax dollars and the many hours spent by teachers, support staff and school administrators.
I get the opportunity to talk to students at many levels, asking them their plans for the future, career directions or dreams. Most will reply with a specific direction, and it will not likely include staying in the Valley. There is that need to do your own thing after graduation, to show you are in control.
However, like myself, after a few years of exploring and living in other places, a group from each class will come back home. My only concern for graduating seniors is the lack of affordable housing in their hometowns. It is unlikely they will be able to afford to live in the Valley until they are well-established in their chosen professions, or possibly never. After changing my post-Mount Si direction several times, the only word of advice I can offer is do what you want to do.
There are a lot of graduating seniors that I have had the good fortune of knowing as they grew up. At the top of the list is Melissa Dillinger, a great kid who will go far. There’s Steve Forsythe, another great kid – if we can only get him to make a decision on his hair color.
Melissa is heading into the Army and will likely whip the entire armed forces into shape. She will make a good general one day, but let’s limit the amount of weapons she can have in her possession.
Steve will likely end up on the cover of Rolling Stone, hopefully as a rock star and not the boyfriend of a Hollywood actress.
There are many others who have made me smile, laugh or appreciate the talents they have, both academically and athletically. Sara DeVoe, the daughter of my second-grade teacher, is one of the most gifted kids I have seen come out of Mount Si in many years. This girl will be running a Fortune 500 company someday, or have her star on the Hollywood walk of fame. Her appearances in many of the plays at Mount Si kept the audience intrigued and involved in every scene. Her writing, here in the Valley Record, shows true emotion and a gift for the written word.
Many athletes will be sorely missed by their respective teams, including Matt Geiger, Nick Rich, Dan Haakenson, Payton Thompson, Dana Luizzo, Heather Lewis, Sheena Kern, Moriah Hover, Brad Connor, Brad Davis, Sean Fallows, Mike and Marc Dahm, Jeff Stone, Mike Dollinter (the James snapper), David Labelle, Chad Mills, Steve Botulinski, Austin Bachelder, Ashley Wiegardt, Dan Barry, Erica Tawney, Lauren Berndt, Jed McDaniels, Isaiah Cormier, Lindsey Ray and Hiram Tame.
I know there are many others out there, and I apologize for not being able to remember all of you. Good luck in your future endeavors and remember, there’s no place like home.