Weston High School honors graduates | SLIDESHOW

ARLINGTON — The Byrnes Performing Arts Center was packed with family and friends supporting the Class of 2012 graduates of Weston High School on June 13.

Twenty-four students walked to the stage to receive their academic awards, diplomas and audience applause. Weston High School Principal Amie Verellen-Grubbs introduced the graduates and those who achieved particular scholarly success.

“These are the students who are receiving a certificate of academic achievement,” she said, and introduced 13 high-achieving students, including Chantel Stickel, the class valedictorian.

“We were all different when we started high school,” said Stickel. “I believe that every one of us had a support team.” Stickel spoke of how Weston High School helped her graduate one year early by letting her take extra classes and participate in Sno-Isle. She now plans to attend Skagit Valley College to begin coursework for becoming a surgical nurse.

“I couldn’t have done it without Weston teachers,” she said. “They are very understanding. They aren’t teachers anymore, they are like friends. We are blessed with the teachers we have.”

Two of those teachers — Sally Bainter and Renee McArt — addressed each graduating senior by name and spoke a few words about the student’s best qualities and how they expect that each will find success in the future.

Many of the graduates were excited to see what that future holds. “I am definitely ready to graduate,” said Cody Smith, who said he will miss hanging out with his friends. “A lot of the teachers helped me through school,” said Smith. Smith plans to head now to the Universal Technical Institute or to culinary school where he’d like to become a head chef.

Zach Smoots said he is ready to be done with high school. “I feel pretty good. I just want it to be over with,” said Smoots. Like Smith, Smoots said he will miss seeing his classmates everyday. He plans to keep working in the summer and then join the Army or go to college, or both.

Charles Steele, another Weston graduate, was also nervous and excited for graduation. “I’m not really sure what I’ll do next,” said Steele. “I’ll miss seeing my friends everyday.”

“I just want to keep contact with friends, get a paid job and have a good life,” said Steele. Steele has already been working for Hedgehog Cages for two years, and is proud to have a job he can look forward to after high school.

Graduating senior Rio Solis was nervous for the commencement ceremony, but excited to be graduating. Solis plans to take a year off from school before registering for business courses at Everett Community College with the hope of one day starting her own business. “I’ll mainly miss the teachers,” said Solis, whose favorite classes were English and History with McArt. “You build a family bond with the teachers here. I’ll really miss them.”


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