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home : education : schools June 24, 2016

6/11/2013 1:14:00 PM
Graduates saddle up for the future
Danielle Lovegren offered up a poetic valedictory speech. photo by Jerry Baldock
+ click to enlarge
Danielle Lovegren offered up a poetic valedictory speech. photo by Jerry Baldock

The mortar boards fly as the Class of 2013 steps into the future. photo by Jerry Baldock
+ click to enlarge
The mortar boards fly as the Class of 2013 steps into the future. photo by Jerry Baldock

By Charlie Kanzig

Not to be upstaged by The Biggest Little Show in the World, the 65th commencement of Sisters High School was held Friday, June 7, the first time the ceremony has taken place on the same weekend as the Sisters Rodeo.

A total of 101 students received diplomas at the conclusion of the ceremony, along with four exchange students, in one of the smaller graduating classes in the past decade. In all, six students earned 24-credit State of Oregon diplomas, 71 earned 26-credit regular Sisters High School diplomas and 28 earned honors diplomas.

There was much to do, see, and hear before the mortarboards flew. Following a stirring rendition of the national anthem by members of the jazz choir, Superintendent Jim Golden honored the parents and other community members for their unflagging support of Sisters schools.

He took a moment to remember Christine Jones, former school board chair, who died of leukemia earlier this spring. Her son Christopher was among the graduates.

Principal Joseph Hosang followed with comments addressed to the class of 2013, acknowledging that they had lived through some of the toughest four years in recent history in America.

"You have been through tough times, but there is still so much to be thankful for," he said.

He concluded with a quote from Og Mandino who said, "Remind thyself, in the darkest moments, that every failure is only a step toward success, every detection of what is false directs you toward what is true, every trial exhausts some tempting form of error, and every adversity will only hide, for a time, your path to peace and fulfillment."

Then it was time to hear from some of the students themselves and Riley Barrett stepped to the podium as the first of two valedictorians to address the gathering.

Barrett began by touching on what comprises the shared identity of the class of 2013 in poetic style.

"We are from Outdoor School and teachers who care.

We are from mural-lined hallways created by students.

We are from nature, the Three Sisters Mountains, where we have taken paths less traveled and left nothing but a piece of our heart."

She emphasized a theme focused on the importance of a supportive community like Sisters and what a tremendous job the staff at Sisters schools do in demonstrating true care of students, summing up with a well-known quote from Maya Angelou:

"People will forget what you said and people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Danielle Lovegren followed with an ode to seniors, which she wrote in a well-balanced verse that included many memories chronicling events from the four years of high school. She concluded with:

"A word to all you seniors

A thought for you to live by

Today is the day we live for

Not tomorrow or days gone by

Grab hold of your passions

And make them fly

You are worth it all

Make all of it worth it to you

Don't worry if you fall

To yourself always be true

Don't be afraid to fail

Push onward-do your thing

With wind in your sails

Your triumph will sing

Here's to the class of 2013."

Student Body President Shannon Fouts polished off the reminisces, reflecting on the key programs and experiences she and her classmates experienced during all 12 years in the school district, from Mr. Benton's celebration of National Snout Day in third grade, to sixth-grade Outdoor School and on to the concept of "leaving no trace" in the IEE program as juniors and seniors.

Fouts, Jaimee Simundson, and Avi Vogel then shared a cover of the song "Rivers and Roads" by the band The Head and the Heart.

Two long-time Sisters High School traditions followed as students honored their mothers with a single rose and then sat back to enjoy a video composed by senior Jordan Williams, featuring baby pictures and senior pictures.

Principal Hosang, with the help of outgoing school board member Cheryl Stewart, dean of students Michele Hammer, and Superintendent Golden, delivered the diplomas to the celebrating seniors and within minutes the class of 2013 happily proceeded out the front doors of Sisters High School, where they greeted family and friends, and stepped into the future.

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