EVERETT – For some graduates in the Arlington High School Class of 2019 who likened school life to a four-year journey along a yellow brick road fraught with challenges, demands and lessons, it doesn’t take a wizard to know where things lead. (Video)
“As we embark on our journey in the world outside of high school, don’t forget what Arlington High School – ‘the land of Oz’ – taught us with perseverance, heart, courage and finding the leader within us,” said Brittany Anderson, among five valedictorian speakers.
“The world is your ruby slipper; don’t be afraid to grab it and click your heels,” said Anderson during the school’s commencement ceremony at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett June 13, where parents, family, teachers and staff watched 376 students make the graduation walk.
Katelyn Morris, joined by fellow valedictorians Anderson, Annika Hatfield and Allyson Roller, said her class “won’t be remembered for being cowardly lions who sit back in fear when life gives us a nudge on the shoulder, but rather for being courageous. Or, for lack of better terms, lion hearted.”
Valedictorian Jeffrey Andrews said that too often, he and other students “under-appreciate the value of just being alive.” Each has a major goal to excel in occupations “that come with the potential to improve the world for generations to come, but it seems that we’re always waiting for the next step.
“Let’s slow down, smell the roses and reflect on our experiences,” Andrews said.
District Superintendent Chrys Sweeting congratulated the graduates and their families for reaching this stage of their journey.
“The end of this journey is the beginning of a new one,” she said. “You are surrounded by people who believe in you. Keep learning and become a better you, over and over. Serve others, and never give up on yourself.”
Second-year principal Duane Fish called the class of 2019 one of the hardest-working and conscientious groups he has had the pleasure of serving in his seven years as a school leader.
“There have been a lot of changes at AHS in your four years, but none of that has distracted you from successfully planning for your futures,” he said.
That much showed, academically and athletically.
The class’s eight valedictorians and 18 more students finished with a 3.9 grade point average or higher, Fish said. Ninety-three students earned a 3.5 or higher gpa.
In addition, National Merit Scholar Cole Hahn was one of 1.5 million students nationwide who took the merit scholar test; he outperformed 99.5 percent of the nation’s seniors. “This is the first as a principal that I’ve ever had a National Merit Winner.”
Fish also recognized a 15-year-old graduate that evening who earned his associate’s degree concurrently at Everett Community College. He will turn 16 working toward a computer science degree at the University of Washington this fall.
Another outstanding Husky-to-be is Sadie Hollingsworth, who was one of 49 senior invited to Olympia for a STEAM signing day. She plans to pursue an aerospace engineering degree at the UW. Another student, Matthew Kehoe, was a semi-finalist for Operation Homefront National Military Child of the Year, and plans to pursue a career in aviation at Central Washington University
Fish said Arlington high’s jazz and concert bands are top-flight, and took 2nd place this year at the Fullerton College Jazz Festival.
Eagles athletes and sports teams and another phenomenal year, competing in tournaments and qualifiers in football, boy and girls cross country, volleyball, tennis, wrestling, basketball, golf, track and field, and fielding a baseball team that led Wesco 3A for the fourth straight year.
“I would say, Eagles, you’ve really set the bar high for future classes,” Fish said.
His hope for graduates: “Remember where you come from, and who you represent. Get involved, work hard, and be kind.”
The commencement paid touching tribute to Jovon “Jojo” Mangual, leaving a chair open amid the rows of graduates and a lime green shirt that read, “Forever an Eagle,” and imprinted with a football helmet with Jojo’s name and his #10 on it.
Jojo died on March 22, 2014 when the Oso mudslide claimed the lives of several residents in the community. The Post Middle School student and young sports enthusiast’s family members were introduced to applause at the start of the ceremony.