Saturday ushered in dry and beautiful weather for the 108 seniors who graduated from Brookings-Harbor High School.
The class of 2018 marched onto the back stretch of the track and greeted their teachers with handshakes and hugs before being lead around the track and onto the risers by Bret Darger and Abby Farmer.
The Teacher of the Year award was presented to Gregory Scott, an economics and American government and policy instructor. Scott also won the award last year.
Principal Lisa Dion announced the winners of this year’s academic excellence awards, and after they stood on stage to be honored, the winners of honors diplomas stood in place on the risers.
Superintendent Sean Gallagher introduced this year’s salutatorian, Savannah Goetze.
Goetze, in her speech, looked to Eleanor Roosevelt who said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
She then welcomed the class to the “start of our beautiful futures.”
School board member Bruce Raleigh brought co-valedictorians Mia Adams and Emma Leonard to the stage. And presented them with the valedictory award.
Leonard, the first to speak, encouraged her classmates to do what made them happy, to take risks and be confident.
Adams congratulated the class for surviving high school and then fell silent for 17 seconds, one second for each of the people killed in the Parkland school shooting.
She stressed the importance of “taking a step forward and acknowledging the truths before us . . . and becoming a leader able to change the world.”
Dion, the first keynote speaker, guided the audience through an alphabet of the heart and focused on L, for love, saying it is love that contains all virtues and heals all wounds.
She joined Vice Principal Alex Merritt, who is leaving Brookings at the end of the school year, as he donned cowboy hat and mustache before picking up a guitar and sitting down to sing his address: a Brookings-Harbor-focused rendition of Kenny Rogers classic “The Gambler” complete with new lyrics including:
“And now that I’m a senior, sitting at my graduation
“And I’ve done my time in high school, and I’m ready now to fly
“Know I’ll always be a Bruin, with my heart in Brookings, Oregon
“And if you’re a freshman, let me give you some advice …
“You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em,
“Know when to walk away, know when to run.
“You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table,
“There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.”
Virginia Riddle introduced the Sea Breeze seniors who harmonized on a rendition of “I’ll Always remember You,” and the senior class took the end of the song as their cue to begin the celebrations.
Various seniors rose and silly-stringed their friends as cannons shot blue and silver confetti through the air. Parents, friends and relatives joined, shaking hands and hugging as the ceremony ended.
Reach Boyd C. Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org .