TULALIP – The Class of 2018 was a historic graduation at Tulalip Heritage High School.
This is the first year the school offered its own diploma to graduates. Previously, students received Marysville-Pilchuck diplomas.
When Principal Shelly Lacy announced that to the crowd of hundreds to watch 24 seniors graduate, there was a loud round of applause.
Lacy explained that because the small school lacked a librarian and other features, it hadn’t been accredited until law changed this year.
Tribal council member Jared Parks said the graduates are fortunate in that they have a lot available to them now, compared with the past. Their education could be paid for, and there are jobs available. “We’re blessed to have what we have now,” he said.
Council member Les Parks thanked the families, “who had to endure these guys – get them to school when they were just smart-mouthed kids.” He advised the grads to find what they want to do, challenge themselves and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
Tribal treasurer Mel Sheldon said to applause, “Tomorrow, when you wake up, you will be free.”
Student speaker Rosealynne Williams was the valedictorian with a 4.0 grade point average. “We were introduced to death at a young age,” she said, regarding the tribal members killed in the M-P cafeteria when they were freshmen. “We know you are here today in spirit.”
She wisely said people don’t always get the lives they choose, but they can dictate their attitude toward it.
Parks’s granddaughter, Keryn, said she was proud of her classmates “pushing through all that was in our way.”
She said they will miss their teachers and the family that forms at a small school.
“We were lucky to have that,” she said, adding people should not be afraid to fail because that just means First Attempt In Learning.
Those in attendance watched a slide of the grads, from embarrassing ones as youth to embarrassing ones as teens. Families cheered when their grad’s name was announced.
Outgoing superintendent Becky Berg thanked the elders for their contributions.
“I’ve learned a lot about your traditions the last five years,” she said.