The sweltering heat Saturday evening did not dampen the spirits of the approximately 400 Chiawana High School seniors who walked across the stage to get their diplomas.
Loved ones packed into the stands at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco turned the commencement programs into fans, while school security handed out chilled water bottles to the Class of 2015 graduates.
Senior Class President David Willer reminded his fellow graduates that Saturday marked not only the end of their senior year, but also the beginning to a bright future.
“Let’s start today the rest of our lives by remembering the past and beginning our future,” Willer said. “Say our goodbyes as we all begin to start moving forward. Many of us will fall down along the way, but we as a class are here for each other.”
Principal John Wallwork told the fifth graduating class of Chiawana that they are one of the most unique and will go down in history as one of the best.
Some may think it is because of academic achievements — seven valedictorians and one salutatorian — and 150 others with 3.0 grade-point averages and above, he said. Some may credit it to the district, regional and state athletic championships. And others may think it is because of their musical awards or that the class earned more than $3.5 million in scholarships.
“But for me, what sets you apart from the four graduating classes is this: You are the only senior class that beat the staff at the staff versus senior basketball and softball games,” Wallwork said to cheers. “A tremendous, unthinkable accomplishment.”
The valedictorians were Kelsey Toyoda, Nayeli Cervantes, Trenton Steach, David Thien, Megan Steach, Kaitlin Anderson and Sadie Izaguirre. John Wheatley was the salutatorian.
“Our actions must make a statement, one that says wherever we come from, whatever we have or don’t have, we can be successful and achieve greatness,” Toyoda said. “Excellence is never an accident, it’s the result of hard work.”