Valedictorian Tobin Carlson noted that each member of her graduating class at Kiona-Benton City High School faced difficulties.
Some of those difficulties might have been more apparent than others, but everyone had to overcome their own to reach graduation. She recalled a classmate who had twice failed to pass the state standardized test in reading required to finish high school. Despite the frustration, that student never gave up, continued to study and passed the test on the third try.
The resilience that student showed is perhaps the most precious thing the 89 members of the Class of 2015 can take away from their high school years besides what they learned in class, Tobin said.
“I don’t know if they know this, but I’m so proud of them,” Tobin said of her classmates. “They showed me resilience.”
That resilience did more than get some students to graduation. Their hard work led the class to receive $60,800 in scholarships, not including the College Bound scholarship 18 seniors will receive, which provide whatever is needed by the student, said Superintendent Wade Haun.
There’s still work to do, Salutatorian Erika Alpizar said. She and her classmates are joining the real world, where they’ll have to find jobs and pay rent. But for one day, they can take pride that the past four years of hard work have paid off and they are on their way.
“Because what matters is this moment,” she said. “We’ll remember this moment for years to come.”