NASELLE - One of the smallest Naselle High School classes in recent years - 18 graduates - celebrated the culmination of their public school education as they participated in their high school graduation ceremony held in the Naselle Schools gymnasium Saturday afternoon, June 12.
From the familiar strains of the opening processional "Pomp and Circumstance" played by the Naselle High School Band, directed by Dave King, to the band's closing recessional, the focus was on the achievements and honors earned by the 18 members of the Class of 2004. Their achievements were many, especially for such a small group.
The four speakers representing the class, salutatorian Jennifer Burns and Donna Blain presented the welcome to the ceremony. Valedictorian Chera Anderson, and class speaker Derek Johnson spoke to the graduates and to the audience assembled to honor the graduates.
Faculty speaker Chris Clark, addressing the graduates, told them, "Life will be much different than the life you have known until now, there are no more yellow buses out front, reminders to get your chores done, loans that may be forgotten by your parents, or broken curfews. It's a new world, one where you hold the key, the mop, the mortgage and all that life will offer you along the way.
"One has to ask oneself one simple question, what passions lie within me? Do you dream of practicing law, or is it a trade school, junior college to find your way, the service, or a major university a long way from home. But what passion lies within you?"
The highlights of the ceremony included a presentation by the high school band of "Nathan Hale," and a song by the high school choir "I Will be There for You," and the ever-popular senior slide show presented by senior Marijane Mobley which featured the senior class members since early childhood. Between the laughter and the applause, there were some tears of nostalgia as the senior pictures appeared on the screen.
Principal Karen Wirkkala and counselor Justin Laine presented the senior awards and scholarships which are documented in another story in this edition of this newspaper.
Principal Wirkkala, superintendent Gerald Schmidtke and board member Steve Sultemeier presented the Class of 2004 with their diplomas which was the seniors' last activity as students of Naselle High School. Following the awarding of the diplomas and the presentation of the class, the graduating Class of 2004 left the gymnasium as alumni of Naselle High School.
The graduates included Chera Lynn Anderson, Donna Allison Blain, Megan Marie Bozarth, Jennifer Lynn Burns, Christopher Raymond Dunn, Mary Allison Frank, Michael Steven Hurst, Derek Scott Johnson, Marijane Elizabeth Mobley-Anderson, Nicole Marie O'Kelley, Michael Angel Perez, Jordan Michael Petrovich, Jacqueline Rachel Stanley, Renee Francias Steppe, Joel Ryan Turner, Elicia Jeanne Vaughn, Daniel Eric White and Neil Thomas Wirkkala.