NASELLE — The Class of 2019 isn’t just a high school class.

It’s the “Family of 2019.”

That was the message from Jacob Eaton to fellow Naselle graduates as they transitioned into adult life Saturday.

Amid a ceremony of laughter, some tears, and a mix of formal and informal moments, the senior, known equally for his academic and sporting prowess, called on his fellow grads to find their own passion and stick with it.

“Whether you’re going off to college or joining the workforce or you really just aren’t sure yet, don’t let the stresses of life cause you to miss the fun journey that it should be,” said Eaton, a future forester, who is already on his way to his first degree through Grays Harbor College thanks to the Running Start program.

“We’re all going to make mistakes along the way, but those are just chances to learn and hopefully grow a little wiser.”

He said Naselle’s Class of 2019 can also be called the “Family of 2019.”

“We are always there for each other. I’d also call us innovative and talented, always putting our abilities to use. We can all get along and poke fun at each other, developing thick skin over the years. We are there to support each other when life doesn’t seem to be going quite right and are always willing to give each other a helping hand.”

After speaking, Eaton was one of the class of 24 who stepped up to receive his high school diploma from his father, Lonnie Eaton, a member of the school board.

There was a similar poignant moment for Amy Hunt, another board member who was equally moved to present the diploma to her daughter, Lindsay, who was honored for her work in area 4-H programs and participation in jazz band. She plans to follow family tradition and attend Washington State University, studying agriculture or food science.

The celebration was led by Eaton as salutatorian and valedictorian Cole Dorman, inseparable friends and teammates in Comet sports uniforms dating back to the years when they were ball boys for his uncle, Jeff Eaton, the Naselle football coach, who was among those applauding in the gym.

“Without your support, this day would not be possible,” Dorman said. The 4.0-grade point average student’s next studies will focus on actuarial science (finance and risk), beginning at Clark College in Vancouver.

Quinn Donlan, who has just completed his third year as principal, highlighted each of the two dozen graduates.

Their career paths are varied. Parker Dalton, who was singled out for high academic recognition with Dorman and Eaton, wants to train to be a pilot. Ian Fontanilla and Antonio Nolan, are looking at fire science; and Samantha Gustafson and Hailey Weston, are heading toward early childhood education. Vince Fauver and Aaron Todd want to be linemen; McKenzie Glenn, a dental hygienist; and Saleana Patterson will study graphic design.

Jose Flores will study carpentry; Darian Jacot and Danielle Latham nursing; Lily Harman exercise science; and Sophie Scrabeck criminal justice.

Rojelio Lopez will work at Hampton Lumber in Warrenton, Gillian Hope will begin an apprenticeship in cosmetology and Gage Johnson will study automotive technologies. Holly Disch will study protective services, Taylor Gudmundsen will began a transfer degree at Clark College and Josh Townsen plans to attend a law enforcement academy.

Donlan called them “diverse, enthusiastic, talented and educated” and quoted poet Angela Schwindt, who wrote the memorable line, “While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”

He commended each for their perseverance.

“Many had challenges … that they had to overcome — all these obstacles. Now they will continue and go on to do great things.”

Counselor Justin Laine read a list of scholarships obtained by class members that totaled more than $500,000.

Gustafson, Todd, Disch and Townsen were honored for their work in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. Joe Monroy, who will study computer programming at Clatsop College, was honored for graduating with the Washington State Seal of Biliteracy, which reflects his high-level mastery of English and Spanish.

“This is a very talented, resilient and hardworking bunch of kids,” Laine said.

We hope to hear great things from you in the future.”

That was echoed by Superintendent Lisa Nelson, who officially certified the graduates as having met the requirements to graduate from Naselle and in the state of Washington.

“I think we all have pretty high hopes for this class,” she said.

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