Saturday's graduation ceremony at Elmer Bankus Field was a memory in the making for the Brookings-Harbor High School class of 2011.
Not only was the event fast-paced and lively, featuring a keynote speech by Bev Rose, Kalmiopsis Elementary School physical education instructor, but there was a moment of quiet nostalgia when Rose led the class from the elementary school, across the street, to the field, just as she did when the graduates were in elementary school.
Rose led the 109 graduates along the track, on the backside of the football field, to the staging area where they lined up for the march in front of the stadium during "Pomp and Circumstance" played by the non-graduating members of the high school band.
Once the graduates were at the seating area, which was backed by giant numbers, 2011, and signed by members of the class, a color guard from the U.S. Coast Guard Station Chetco River presented arms followed by senior members of the Sea Breeze vocal ensemble singing the national anthem.
Brookings-Harbor School District Principal Bryan Wood welcomed the audience and announced that 76 members of the class plan to attend college in the fall, with a total of more than $1 million in scholarships to pay the costs, six are joining the military, 10 are heading to a trade school and 17 will be going directly into the workforce.
Superintendent Brian Hodge introduced the students who received academic excellence honors: Eileen Goodwin, Meredith Horel, Ally Manley, Mariam Hernandez, Javin Fleshman, Brianne Dodgen, Jessica Gardner, Nicole Watterson and Dustin Paradis. Each came forward to receive a certificate.
Hodge then listed the students who received honors diplomas. Students were asked to stand when their names were called. Nineteen students achieved this status.
Salutatorians Meredith Horel, Javin Fleshman and Liz Lindley stepped up onto the podium to receive a plaque and give a short speech.
Fleshman passed on his advice about giving a speech: "Make it long enough to cover the subject, and short enough to keep their attention." He listed the names of all the teachers he has had since kindergarten, honoring them for their part of his education.
Horel and Lindley spoke of the importance of study groups to help understand the coursework. Horel added that she learned to ask straightforward questions, even though one of her teachers always responded with "Yes." Lindley also honored her mentors, both students and adults.
Valedictorians Mariam Hernandez, Eileen Goodwin and Sierra Rigel all thanked their parents during their speeches.
Goodwin added that, during her high school experience, she found that learning takes place in the hallways, during school functions and trips, and not just in the classroom.
Rigel talked about remembering her school experience since kindergarten and how far she has gotten in life. She concluded that "we will all remember this last day together as one."
Student Jillian McCool introduced foreign exchange students Nur Ayiez Faezah Kamarudin from Malaysia and Tayla McDonald from Australia. Both spent one semester at BHHS.
Also honored this year was Teacher of the Year Hannah Young. However, Young was not able to attend because she gave birth the day before. Student Ashley Juarez, who announced the honors, also gave the details of the child.
This year's faculty speaker was administrative assistant Tina Peters, who thanked all the students who have helped her. She closed her statement by telling the class, "Now is the time to stretch your wings and fly like an eagle." She added that "it's time to make new memories."
Following the keynote speech (see related story), Eli Bruce, Brock Bristow and Gage Northrup performed a humorous song and dance titled "Send Me on My Way," which was followed by the roll call for diplomas.
After Hodge declared the students as graduates, tassels were moved to the other side of the graduation caps followed by the traditional spraying of Silly String and throwing of caps into the air.