The Toyota Center roared with Lion pride as Kennewick High School’s Class of 2014 graduated Saturday morning.
Parents, siblings, other relatives and friends snapped photos, shot video, waved signs and cheered as the seniors marched across the stage and into the next chapter of their lives.
“While this may be the end of our high school careers, it is even more so the true beginning of our lives, and I am excited for what the future holds for each and every one of us,” David Zilar, one the valedictorians, told the crowd.
Fellow valedictorian Jordan Clizer talked about the Kennewick Lions’ nickname — EKU, or East Kennewick Uglies, and how it’s come to represent pride, unity and acceptance.
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“EKU is a family — a family that embraces all and cares for everyone along the high school journey and the life outside of high school,” he said. “Even though we are all leaving the jungle, saying our goodbyes — some packing up and moving far away, others deciding to stay close — we will always be an EKU family.”
Salutatorian Karla Bahena reflected on fun times at school — from dance-offs before reading The Great Gatsby in literature class to learning and traveling with the FFA chapter.
The school teachers and staff deserve thanks, she said, along with others who’ve helped on the road to graduation. “Look around you at this moment. I’m sure that there is at least one person in this room that, without them, you could not have made it this far,” Bahena said. “Thank them for helping you get to this point — the life-changing point we have been waiting for since Day 1.”
“One last piece of advice,” she added, “do not let these be the best four years of your life. Go on and look for better ones because there should be and there will be.”