ILWACO - Amidst music and poetry, speeches and smiles - lots of smiles - Ilwaco High School's Class of 2004 celebrated Commencement exercises at Aase Gymnasium Saturday evening.
The 73 graduates entered to "Pomp and Circumstance" played by the IHS band under the direction of Brian Bergman. Student Body President Ryan Cadwell led the standing-room-only crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Valedictorian Codie Jenkins stepped to the podium and said, "Special souls come into our lives to help us when we are going to give up." An emotional Jenkins then thanked her grandma and grandpa for being those special people for her. She concluded by saying, "Our class has faced tragedy and triumph, and we will succeed in making a lasting impact."
Megan Saunders, salutatorian, then gave the audience a glimpse of the class through the grades with many anecdotes. She said 120 students began the ninth grade and although the numbers have dropped to 73 she chooses to remember the good times. "We are the closest class ever at IHS," she claimed.
Bob Walters then directed the high school choir in singing "Anytime You Need a Friend." Kelsey Heriot presented a humorous and touching slide-show of the graduates from their toddler years through grade school and ending with senior snap shots. A constant chorus of applause and the songs "How Did I Ever Let You Slip Away," "A Small Town," and "All My Life" accompanied the computer-generated presentation.
The band added to the festivities by playing "Lexicon" as the sweltering crowd utilized their programs as fans. Principal Lisa Nelson delivered a self-authored poetic tribute to the Class of '04, saying affectionately, "You were great athletes and scholars; to us at IHS you're our sons and daughters."
The Ilwaco Vocal Ensemble then sang "Fields of Gold" and "Walk on the Ocean."
Superintendent Tom Lockyer announced to School Board members Ed Guelfi, Kim Patten and Kristi Unruh that the class had met the requirements for graduation.
As Nelson declared the names, Board Chairman Guelfi distributed the diplomas to the graduates. Athletic Director Matt Blair presented a diploma to his son, Brandon Zsiros, and Patten did the same to his daughter Alisa.
Senior class president Michelle Wroble led the graduates in a tassel ceremony. The newest alumni of Ilwaco High School then joyfully marched out to "Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)" played by the IHS band.
Pictures of each graduate, a schedule of events, and a list of faculty were included in the Commencement program created by Lindsey Hylton. The class motto was: "Do not follow where a path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
A reception followed in the high school concourse. Advisors Amy Huntley and Randy Bloom then boarded busses with the seniors to go on their senior sneak.