Mother Nature shined down on the second graduating class at Chiawana High School as soon-to-be Riverhawk alums anxiously waited their turn to cross the stage at Edgar Brown Memorial Stadium in Pasco.
The 366 members of Chiawana’s Class of 2012 are also the last group of students who also attended Pasco High.
Though the history and traditions at Pasco’s newest high school are still being developed, Principal Teri Kessie said “the legacy these kids leave is an incredible reputation.”
The senior class combined earned more than $1.5 million in scholarships to help them through the next stage in their lives.
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The school’s two honored speakers, ASB President Jared Costanzo and Alejandro Silva, shared memories of their school days and thanked teachers, friends and family for helping them reach this milestone.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened,” Silva said quoting Dr. Seuss. Silva, who started kindergarten as a second language learner, also gave his speech in Spanish.
Salutatorian CJ Edrington wrote a poem for his speech, while Valedictorian Naomi Matson chose to share a personal story to let her fellow grads know they can overcome anything.
Matson struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts after her biological parents were arrested at the family’s Pasco apartments when she was in fifth grade.
Matson stayed with friends, shuttled between relatives’ homes and was placed with foster families, before later being adopted.
She buried her head in school work because she didn’t know how to deal with the other pressures in life, but told her classmates, “if life gives you an inch, take a mile because how else are we going to get anywhere.”
“Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It’s the courage that counts,” Matson said.