Warmed by a setting sun that glowed nearly as bright as their collective futures, the 300-plus members of the Enumclaw High School graduating class of 2009 received diplomas Monday night.
Bunched on the floor of the White River Amphitheatre, their backs to the sun and a throng of family and friends, this year’s grads heard from classmates, Principal Jill Burnes, Superintendent Mike Nelson and School Board Chairwoman Cathy Dahlquist before gearing up for the moment of truth – the calling of their name, the short stroll across the stage, the formal handshake and a quick picture.
In a flash, 306 seniors became 306 high school graduates.
In the hour before being sent off into the world, the Hornet seniors heard from class speakers Evan Underbrink and Rebekah Daniels. Together they rattled off a litany of traditional high school drama they all shared: things like first romances, school lunches and hiding cell phones.
“Now we are poised to start a new journey,” Daniels said, later joking that the adult adventure includes “income taxes and paying for everything.”
Underbrink countered with the “good friendships and great memories” built at Enumclaw High.
Burnes took the opportunity to highlight the academic achievements registered by this year’s group, including seven who have earned a two-year college degree while still in high school. This year’s graduates, she said, have been awarded local, state and national scholarships worth more than $400,000 next year and carrying a four-year value of nearly $1.2 million.
Dahlquist urged the graduates to inspire others, embrace competition, allow losses to become a motivating tool and, above all else, believe in themselves.
“Your attitude is your choice,” she told her audience.
Honored as being at the top of their class academically were Sheila Carey, Danielle Conzelman, Akira Davidson, Cassondra Garman, Savannah Griffin, Cassandra Helms, Mara Koplitz, Norma Perez, Lynzi Phillips, Gregory Rufener and Peter Weisbeck.