ILWACO — As the lineup of soon-to-be Ilwaco High School graduates waited outside the back door of Aase Gymnasium last Saturday, the atmosphere was pretty casual. Seniors adjusted each other’s hats and tassels and chatted. That is until the music began to play inside and the students slowly started to file into the ceremony, with excitement building on their faces.
Of the 56 seniors who graduated from IHS Saturday, nearly half — 27 — did so with honors, highest honors, or as a member of the National Honor Society. This included the two senior speakers, Eliza Bannister — who was chosen by the class — and Madeline Jacobson — who was chosen by the staff. The two made their speeches together. (IHS does not designate a valedictorian and salutatorian.)
“We would never have made it here today if it wasn’t for the support of family, Ilwaco staff, community and friends,” said Jacobson.
The format of the ceremony featured multiple musical performances at the front end. Senior choir member Cheyenne Bent sang the national anthem to open the evening, before joining the rest of the choir for a take on the theme song from the TV show “Friends,” “I’ll Be There For You.”
The popular senior slideshow, which featured both contemporary and childhood photos of each grad, was followed by a performance of “This Is Me,” from the symphonic band. The jazz band performed a great version of “Miss Mango,” a song that has become one of the best in their repertoire.
Jacobson began her portion of the senior speeches thanking the many people who helped get the graduates to that point.
“Thank you to our parents, grandparents and family members for being there when we needed someone to help guide us in the right direction. Your love and support helped us get through tough times the last four years,” she said. “Without our teachers, principal, caring staff, coaches, mentors — and our office secretary (Jacobson pointed to her mom in the audience, who is the school secretary at IHS) — we wouldn’t be graduating.”
She also noted the great deal of local support they’ve received.
“The outreach from the community has been nothing short of amazing, so we would like to thank all the people on the Peninsula who are so committed to supporting our student body,” she said, adding, “And thank you to our friends in all grades for plenty of laughs and great memories.”
Bannister noted how time seems to fly when you think back.
“It’s crazy to believe we’re graduating. One second we’re going on a field trip to the park and the next thing you know we’re decorating grad caps. Time is a funny thing,” she said. “Each of us have experienced the high school roller coaster and there are parts we won’t miss, but there are more we wish we never had to say goodbye to. We came to Ilwaco together, and today, after our years of being Fishermen, it’s time for us to move on.”
Principal Dave Tobin made sure to mention all 56 graduates during his speech, which touched on the remembrances of the students during their time at IHS.
“Tonight we make the time to recognize, honor and celebrate this outstanding group of young men and women before you,” he began.
Tobin thanked the students for their hard work and dedication during their time in school, which made, “This night a reality.”
“Individually and collectively, this is an amazing group. So let me tell you a little something about them,” said Tobin, going on to call the grads “very caring and very much people-focused,” adding that, “They’re also very diverse in their interests and talents.”
Jacobson summed up the finality of the ceremony as she and Bannister closed out their speech.
“After today, all of us will go our separate ways and begin our journey into the world. From what I hear, we’re going to be eating a lot of Top Ramen,” she said, with a laugh from the audience. “Just like in the last four years, we’ll face both easy and difficult times. But through it all, make an effort to stay present and enjoy the life you’re living. Do what challenges you and makes you happy, not what others may expect you to do.”
The following is a list of the 2018 IHS graduating seniors, with notions for honors. *NHS - National Honor Society, *HH - Highest Honors, *H - with Honors, *SB - Seal of Biliteracy
Isabel Aguilar - NHS
Hans Amor - NHS, H, SB
Eliza Bannister - NHS, H
Cheyenne Bent - NHS, H
Noah Carper - NHS, H
Devin Cavness - NHS, H
Madison Chabot - NHS, H
Marcus Conner - NHS, H
Alora Ekvall - NHS
Jorge Galvan-Pacheco - NHS
Madeline Jaconbson - NHS, HH
Makenzie Kaech - NHS, HH
Jay Kelly - NHS
Alayna Marsh - NHS, H
Faith Mathison - NHS, HH
Brandon McMullen - NHS, HH
Makayla Olson - NHS
Ivan Ramirez-Talancon - NHS, SB
Trent Ramsey - NHS, H
Kira Roby - NHS, H
Taylor Sheldon - NHS
Madeline Skillings - NHS, H
Chandelle Thomas - NHS
Grace Thrasher - NHS
Allyson Wagner - NHS
Emeri Wilson - NHS, H