By Pat Jenkins
Faith Lindgren, Courtney Randall and Ashley Richards were enjoying one of their last days together as Eatonville High School students.
Last Friday was a “spirit day” at Eatonville, so Lindgren and Richards were making the occasion in unique fashion with blue-and-white get-ups matching the school colors and accented with frilly tutus. They shared some laughs about the outfits with Randall, who was dressed in regular attire.
The three have a lot in common. They’re “best friends,” Lindgren said, they were teammates on Eatonville’s girls’ soccer team, and they soon will be heading off to college after graduating this Saturday with their fellow seniors.
Their commencement exercise at Pacific Lutheran University is one of five such ceremonies this week for the class of 2012 at Eatonville and Graham-area high schools. In the Bethel School District, the caps and gowns will be everywhere today at the Tacoma Dome in separate events for Graham-Kapowsin, Bethel and Spanaway Lake, while Challenger Secondary School and Online Acaademy graduates took their final graduation steps yesterday.
Awaiting the new batch of graduates are the next chapters of their lives – higher education, jobs or the military, to name some of the directions leading to a future of adult responsibilities. There likely is a little anxiety about the road ahead, but there also is excitement, enless possibilities and reflection on the years spent in high school to help prepare for it all.
Eatonville’s valedictorians – Lindgren, Randall and Richards – and salutatorian Haley Lytle took a few minutes Friday to talk about their high school experiences and their post-graduation plans.
“It’s hard to pick out one special thing about high school. Mostly, I enjoyed being with my teachers and friends and sharing these years with them,” said Lindgren. She’ll be a student at Western Washington University starting this fall.
Randall believes her life is really just getting started with the high school diploma she’ll hold soon. But she said high school “taught me life lessons,” including that “things you want to accomplish aren’t always easy” and to “never give up on a commitment.” Randall will depart soon to attend Eastern Oregon University, where she’ll play soccer and study nursing.
Lytle, who is still deciding a major for her pending studies at University of Washington in Seattle, said she’s particularly appreciative of what she learned as a student government officer and in leadership classes about how to be a leader “in the real world” and ways to use leadership skills “to help other people.”
Richards:expects she’ll always remember playing trumpet in the band and learning about thr rewards of “hard work” and dedication through the musical process. “It’s more than just playing an instrument,” she said. Next: Playing soccer and studying psychology at George Fox University in Oregon.
Joining Richards, Lytle, Randall and Lindgren in the academic top 10 of Eatonville’s graduating seniors are Natasha McKibben, Alexi Osterhaus, Kristin McNeley, Lacey Longpre, Courtney Linnemmeyer, Timothy Helbig, Skylar King, Caitlin Griffin and Erik Swartout.
The top 10 at Graham-Kapowsin includes valedictorian Haley Bronson and Jacob Hatzinger, salutatorian Joanne Bae, and: Gretchen Gielisch, Alix Spurgeon, Drake Figueroa, Tessa Walkinshaw, Breanna Burgess, Jessica Boyd and Bailey Portman.
Among the other top graduates in the Bethel district in terms of their academics are:
** At Challenger, valedictorian is Arianna Carson-Holmes and salutatorian is Brent Stalker.
** At Spanaway Lake, valedictorian Kathryn Rankin and salutatorians Devan Salter and Daniel Wells.
Information on Bethel High’s class leaders wasn’t available as today’s print edition of The Dispatch went to press.
Tuesday: Bethel School District’s Challenger Secondary School and Online Academy
Wednesday: Bethel High School (2 p.m.), Graham-Kapowsin High School (4:30) and Spanaway Lake (7) at the Tacoma Dome.
Saturday: Eatonville High School, 5 p.m. at Pacific Lutheran University