One Last Look Back at High School

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HHS Graduation 2013
Hermiston High School seniors graduated Saturday morning in a ceremony held at the high school gym.

[quote style=”2″]Seniors Say Goodbye to HHS[/quote]

Members of Hermiston’s Class of 2013 closed the book on their high school careers Saturday.

“Today is the day we officially leave high school and begin a new chapter in our lives,” said senior Brandi White during her welcoming remarks. “Let us celebrate this moment and know we made it to one of the most memorable days of our lives.”

PHOTO GALLERY: HHS CLASS OF 2013

HHS graduation crowd
The HHS gym was packed with seniors, school officials, family and friends on Saturday.
HHS Principal Jocelyn Jones gave a recap of the accomplishments of the graduating class. She noted that the class of 2013 is No. 8 in the standings for the Oregon Cup and the only school in the conference in the top 10. The Oregon Cup awards schools for their prowess in academics, athletics, activities and sportsmanship. She also said the senior class has collectively earned $2.6 million in scholarship money.

“Collectively, the class of 2013 stands as one of the finest in Hermiston High School history,” said Jones.

Hermiston School Superintendent Dr. Fred Maiocco offered some words of wisdom to the graduating class.

“Keep reading, keep learning,” he said. “Have a voice – register to vote. You can make a difference. Do your part to make sure future generations have a better world. Find your passion and pursue it.” Maiocco also offered some relationship advice.

“Build relationships,” he urged them. “Don’t miss the opportunity to know love and build deeper relationships.” He ended by reading the poem Success by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty,
To find the best in others,
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

Senior Robin Frye then gave the class history by reminding her classmates that they first had to crawl in order to walk, and walk before learning to run. She said elementary school was where her fellow seniors first learned to crawl in the figurative sense. She said three things stood out in elementary school.

“First, recess,” she said. “Recess was the best. Second, learning fractions was the worst. And third, our teachers thought our handprints resembled the rear ends of turkeys – I don’t know why.”

Then came middle school.

“With that came increased independence,” said Frye. “It was like walking. It taught us how to deal with other people. We learned to do things on our own and not rely on Mom.” Middle school, she said, prepared them for high school.

“We hit the ground running,” she said. “Homework seemed to never end, but we survived. We went from a crawl to a walk to a run. Now we’re preparing to fly.”

Senior Joshua Blake offered a humorous farewell to his classmates by listing a few things that school did and did not teach students.

“School did not teach me that a marathon is 26 miles too long,” he said. “It did not teach me that you will not lose weight with Nutrisystem if you eat all the food in one day. And no matter how hard you try, you cannot play the glockenspiel and look cool at the same time.”

He shared, however, what he did learn from school.

“Your grades do not make you who you are,” he said. “How you live your life makes you who you are.” Blake then made a request of his fellow seniors.

“Those of you who are successful in life, help those who are not.”

HHS Graduates
Three amigos: Manuel Santos, left, Pedro Flores, center, and Kohl Konningrud after the ceremony.
With that, it was time to turn the tassels, walk out of high school as graduates and figure out what to do with the rest of their lives. Many already know their next step they’ll be taking. Manuel Santos, who received an Honors Diploma, said his immediate plans were to sell shaved ice during the summer to earn some money. He then plans to go on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Along with getting his diploma, Santos said his high school years allowed him to explore his passion.

“It helped me find my identity as a musician,” he said. Santos was a member of the HHS jazz band, wind ensemble and marching band. He also plays guitar and sings for the Static Defect, a local rock band.

Gabe Elder also plans to work during the summer before attending the University of Oregon where he plans to major in music composition. He said he’ll miss spending times with his friends.

“Especially going to Shari’s every other Wednesday with my friends,” he said.

Savannah Sherer said she will always have great memories of her days in the HHS band.

“I’m going to miss the band environment,” she said. “I don’t think I’ll find anything else like that.” Sherer, who also received an Honors Diploma, said she plans to attend Portland State University and pursue a double major in music and biology.

Many of the graduating seniors will begin their post-high school life by attending the graduation party at Blue Mountain Community College. The drug- and alcohol-free party is put on each year by parent volunteers.