News

A moment of change

Salutatorian Gillian Kenagy (left) screams in excitement, while Amanda Orcutt (center) turns to Chantelle Ridgley (right) after being officially declared graduates at Mount Si High School’s commencement.   - Dan Catchpole / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Salutatorian Gillian Kenagy (left) screams in excitement, while Amanda Orcutt (center) turns to Chantelle Ridgley (right) after being officially declared graduates at Mount Si High School’s commencement.
— image credit: Dan Catchpole / Snoqualmie Valley Record

The setting sun’s rays lit up Mount Si High School’s stadium Friday evening as the class of 2009 entered the next phase of their lives, leaving high school behind in a flurry of confetti and flying mortarboards.

Their high school career ended the same day television switched from analog to digital, June 12.

They go into a rapidly changing world.

As class valedictorian Emily Woolley said, they will each have seven careers, five of which aren’t invented yet.

“We each took our own path to get here,” she said to her classmates. They had met challenges and persevered.

Going forward, “all we have to do is see it again when the opportunity arises and act quickly,” Woolley said.

Before graduation, the seniors stood inside the building in two long lines of gray and red robes that stretched across the commons and snaked down hallways.

The soon-to-be graduates were talking excitedly, laughing, slapping each other on the back and hugging.

Standing with friends, Zach Kirchmeyer said he was thinking “that it’s finally over and it’s just time for a next step in life.”

He’s accepted a musical scholarship to school in Nebraska, where he plans to study physical therapy. After college, he wants to go to medical school.

His friends, Tyler Kirk and Adam Moreno, plan on rooming together next year at Central Washington University.

Kirk plans on studying musical composition, and Moreno has been accepted to the school’s flight program to become a pilot.

“Thirteen years in the system, — finally done,” Kirk said, smiling.

Graduates were excited about their future plans.

“I’m going to go a hippie school now!” said Ari La Tourette, who plans to attend Evergreen University next year.

Still, graduating hadn’t sunken in yet, she said. This summer, she’ll go to Japan with other Mount Si students.

The class of 2009 had a very distinguished career at Mount Si, said Randy Taylor, the school’s principal.

Eighty students have been awarded nearly $4.3 million in scholarships and awards for school. Eight students have completed associate of arts degrees at Bellevue Community College — the most of any Eastside high school. One student is attending the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy to become a Coast Guard officer.

The class left a legacy of thousands of hours of community service, Taylor said.

It had been an eventful four years at Mount Si, noted senior speaker Gillian Kenagy, which included two bomb threats, “way too much Shakespeare,” a MERSA outbreak and the loss of two classmates, Tess Sollito and Rachel Keizer.

The ceremony moved a few graduates and parents to tears.

Walking into the stadium, graduates craned their necks to see friends and family in the stands. Parents shielded their eyes from the sun and tried to pick out their sons and daughters.

With Mount Si watching over the field, senior speaker Nick Gaudio left his classmates with a question.

“Every great person in history has started out as nothing more than what we are now — students. If they can do it, why not us?”

Kirk plans on studying musical composition, and Moreno has been accepted to the school’s flight program to become a pilot.

“Thirteen years in the system, — finally done,” Kirk said, smiling.

Graduates were excited about their future plans.

“I’m going to go a hippie school now!” said Ari La Tourette, who plans to attend Evergreen University next year.

Still, graduating hadn’t sunken in yet, she said. This summer she’ll go to Japan with other Mount Si students.

Kirsten Wunder was looking forward to summer concerts, including Rise Against, Death Cab for Cutie and The Decembrists.

The class of 2009 had a very distinguished career at Mount Si, said Randy Taylor, the school’s principal.

Eighty students have been awarded nearly $4.3 million in scholarships and awards for school. Eight students have completed associate of arts degrees at Bellevue Community College – the most of any Eastside high school. One student is attending the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy to become a Coast Guard officer.

The class left a legacy of thousands of hours of community service, Taylor said.

It had been an eventful four years at Mount Si, noted senior speaker Gillian Kenagy, which included two bomb threats, “way too much Shakespeare,” a MERSA outbreak and the loss of two classmates, Tess Sollito and Rachel Keizer.

The ceremony moved a few graduates and parents to tears.

Walking into the stadium, graduates craned their necks to see friends and family in the stands. Parents shielded their eyes from the sun and tried to pick out their sons and daughters.

With Mount Si watching over the field, senior speaker Nick Gaudio left his classmates with a question.

“Every great person in history has started out as nothing more than what we are now – students. If they can do it, why not us?”

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus