River View High School seniors entered their graduation Friday evening through an illuminated arch, adorned with red and black balloons.
And more balloons were suspended in the rafters of John Doran Gymnasium in Finley waiting to be dropped at the end of the ceremony.
The 59 students, wearing caps decorated with photos of friends or their number from the football team, cheered during a senior video, which initially showed photos of them as babies, shifting to shots of them as seniors.
Valedictorian Beth Conley, who wants to major in material science engineering at Washington State University, recounted the highlights of the years the students spent together. She then talked about senior year, with events like the last prom and last football game they share.
“Even though we had a year full of lasts, we have an entire future full of firsts to look forward to,” said Conley, who later picked up her diploma from her father, Finley School Board member Scott Conley.
Salutatorian Jared Johnson, who will attend Eastern Washington University, wrote a poem for the occasion, telling his classmates, “There is nothing certain but uncertainty.”
Language arts teacher Tyler Hogg, who was named the students’ choice to speak for the school’s teachers, told the students they could face the monsters in life like the character Beowulf did.
He then pulled out an acoustic guitar and began signing ‘90s rocker Third Eye Blind’s hit Jumper, with the seniors jumping up and singing along when he came to the line “Put the past away.”