Hanford High School graduation: 'Everybody has something to teach'

Tri-City HeraldJune 6, 2014 

The Hanford High School graduating Class of 2014 has a future aerospace engineer, a future wildlife biologist and someone who's going to college "to collect knowledge."

They strode into the Toyota Center on Friday, almost 400 strong, wearing purple and gold gowns. There were 152 honor students among them and 15 who were signed up to serve in the military.

There were also 10 foreign exchange students — some from The Netherlands, Thailand and Indonesia.

One of the 10 valedictorians, Lucas McMillan, told his classmates to never be contained by someone else's image of who they should be.

"We are more than the sum of our past experiences, more than numbers and pieces of paper, more than what society says we can be," he said.

Talk to people was advice from valedictorian Chenguang Li: "Everybody has lived through something new. Everybody has something to teach."

Other valedictorians were Jonah Bartrand, Ryan Colson, Elisa Garrett, Courtney Olsen, Martijn Oostrom, Sathvik Ramanan, Carolyn Rice and Lucy Wang.

Salutatorian Virginia Kuan said the process of applying to college — the endless essays — taught her how to think, how to open her mind to new ideas.

Two graduating seniors were honored as Falcon of the Year, as chosen by their teachers and school staff. They are Tenley Weil, ASB president, and Seth Cook, president of the Key Club.

As each was presented with a trophy, mathematics teacher Vickie Kelly said they were chosen for contributions to the school and how they inspired others.

Social studies teacher Paul Mayer left the graduates with this advice:

"To be thankful to those who helped along the way, for your health and that you live in America.

"To take responsibility in every area of your life. You're the one in charge.

"To choose a career you really, really, really want to do, find a way to make it work for you and do it well.

"To marry the right person. Not right away, slow down, think and make sure it's really the right thing to do."

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