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Collins High School
More than half have college in their future
By Brenda Sexton
Teacher Rich Brumbaugh said students come to Collins High School with a purpose.
For 48 of those students that purpose came to fruition Thursday night as they walked across the White River Annex stage and received their diploma.
Speaker after speaker acknowledged the students' determination and ability to overcome obstacles to make it to this point.
"We would not have made it at traditional high school," class speaker Kalani Grager said.
Kathryn Hendershot, the mother of a toddler, said it wasn't easy living life outside the "teenage eye," in her speech to classmates and a packed auditorium. And yet, she said, many of her classmates "had obstacles I would not want to face."
Class speakers Stacie Brown and Jenna Rossi said many wouldn't be standing on the stage without the support of family and the Collins High staff.
No matter what adversity each student may have faced, they all reached their goal - graduation.
In his speech, Brumbaugh attributed the class' success to perseverance, attitude and belief, and reminded them to carry on.
"You are the only one that can stop you," he said. "Don't you let anyone stop you. Don't you dare."
And then, like every Thursday at Collins High, and this being no exception, he sent his students off with the, "Please, please, please, please please be safe and have fun." His students, in chorus, filling in the "safe" and "fun" along with him.
The evening was filled with may tears, a good number flowing when Principal Marcie Polin presented the Community Service Award, a long-standing Collins High tradition, to Roberta Johnson and Cindy Anderson, who have kept the Collins daycare running for nine years.
"I have heard countless times from young mothers, 'there is no way I could have graduated high school without those women.'"
This is the final year for daycare, which has become the victim of district budget cuts.
There was plenty to celebrate. Of the Collins High graduates, two are going into the military, 28 are college bound, seven were part of the Running Start community college program, with one earning a degree, and three students Thursday night graduated ahead of schedule.
There were also scholarships to hand out. Lynette Williams won a Pierce First scholarship, while Jodie Foster and Malori Jones were named Buckley Log Show Scholarship recipients.
After the superintendents and board members from the White River, Enumclaw and Sumner school districts handed out the diplomas and the fanfare of the tassel turning, graduates, friends, staff and family gathered in the district's board room for a celebration reception.