NASELLE - The 28 members of the senior class of Naselle High School were honored at the 2003 commencement ceremony held Saturday afternoon, June 7, in the Naselle High School Gymnasium.
From the familiar opening theme of "Pomp and Circumstance," played by the Naselle High School band directed by Superin-tendent of School's Gerald Schmidtke, substituting for band director Tom Lee who was away on National Guard duty, to the closing recessional, the focus was on the achievements and potential of the multitalented class of 2003.
The class was led in to the stage by junior ushers Jordan Petrovich and Nicole Matthews. The senior class officers included president Abbie Smith, vice president Robin Andrea II, and secretary Randi Magnuson. Associated student body officers for the year included president Matthew Queral, vice president Zach Badger, treasurer Sheriann Wirkkala, secretary Marijane Mobley, junior auditor Donna Blain, sergeant at arms Neal Wirkkala, and concessions manager Sean Houghton.
The welcome to the ceremony, presented by seniors Robin Andrea II and Randi Magnuson, set the tone for the program. The other addresses by faculty speaker Greg Nelson, the valedictorians address by Sheriann Wirkkala, and by class speaker Dawn Herman, each added to the afternoon of nostalgia and expectations present in the graduating class.
The always popular senior slide show by seniors Matthew Queral and Zach Badger, gave the audience and the seniors a nostalgic and humorous look back into the lives of the seniors.
Honors, Awards and Achievements:
School counselor Justin Laine and Dean of Students Karen Wirkkala presented awards and scholarships to the seniors. Laine explained that academic honors went to students who have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above have achieved gold honors status, while students who have earned a cumulative GPA between 3.2 and 3.49 have achieved silver honors status. These honors went to: (Gold) Sheriann Wirkkala, Nora Darcher, Jordan Varila, Matthew Queral, Abbie Smith, Kristi Ray, Robin Andrea II, and Amanda Sprotti and (Silver) Anthony Wirkkala.
Sheriann Wirkkala, Jordan Varila, Matthew Queral, Abbie Smith, and Kristi Ray are also members of the National Honor Society, which is an honor reserved for students who achieve a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA.
Awards for valedictorian and salutatorian were presented to: Valedictorian - Sheriann Wirkkala and Salutatorian - Nora Darcher.
The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction awarded five Washington State Honors Award Recipients from Naselle High School for the year 2002-03 to: Robin Andrea II, Nora Darcher, Matthew Queral, Kristi Ray, and Sheriann Wirkkala.
The Naselle Grays River Valley School District presented Abbie Smith with the Principal's Leadership Award for her demonstrated ability to combine academic excellence and exemplary leadership in both school and community activities. One student in each high school throughout the nation is nominated for this very prestigious award. Abbie was selected upon the basis of her academic excellence, school activities, community service, outstanding citizenship, and superb leadership.
Matthew Queral and Abbie Smith were this year's National Nominees for the Wendy's High School Heisman Award. Each year, one male and one female student athlete from each high school are nominated by their principal. Students are selected on the basis of academic excellence, superb athleticism, and outstanding citizenship.
Matt Queral and Abbie Smith were also selected as this year's Army Reserve National Scholar Athletes for their academic excellence, superb athleticism, and outstanding citizenship. The United States Army gave recognition and a Montgomery GI Bill award of $32,400 to Dawn Herman. Exchange students Maros Borak and Takami Sato were presented with Certificates of Completion.
The following students were recently recognized during the Evening of Excellence for the following school and community awards: The John Philip Sousa Award for outstanding band performance was this year awarded to Robin Andrea II for his achievement in playing the trumpet; The National School Choral Award was this year presented to Randi Magnuson for her outstanding performance in the Naselle High School choir; The VFW Citizenship Award was this year presented to both a male and female student: Matt Queral and Sheriann Wirkkala; The Patty Wiss Memorial Award was this year awarded to Abbie Smith Each year, the Patty Wiss Memorial Award is presented to a junior or senior girl who has lettered in at least 2 sports and has demonstrated outstanding citizenship.
The Bob Chamberlain Award was this year awarded to Matt Queral. The Bob Chamberlain Award is presented each year to a male senior who possesses at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA, demonstrates outstanding citizenship, has lettered in at least 2 sports, and has participated in at least 2 sports during his senior year. The Elenora Hillis Award for 2003 has been awarded to Abbie Smith. This award is to recognize Elenora's efforts in establishing competitive girls' teams for the Naselle-Grays River Valley School District. This has allowed many young women to enjoy and grow from the experience of playing competitive sports. The recipient of this award is a senior who participated in two competitive sports yearly for four years and also demonstrated strong academic achievement and citizenship.
The following senior faculty awards were also given out during the Evening of Excellence: Cross Age Linking - Randi Magnuson and Thomas Gradt, CWP - Sheriann Wirkkala and Mike Wilson, Band Award - Robin Andrea II, Choir Award - Randi Magnuson, Senior Leadership - Sheriann Wirkkala, English - Sheriann Wirkkala, Mathematics - Sheriann Wirkkala, Science - Matt Queral, Business Education - Jordan Varila, Community Resource Training - Tony Wirkkala, Health and Fitness - Abbie Smith and Robin Andrea II, Industrial Education -Tony Wirkkala and Chris Cook, Industrial Design - Kristi Ray, Computer Technology - Nick Kato, Web Design - Zach Badger, and Art -Fritha Davern.
Laine said, "This year's seniors have been awarded well over $330,000 in scholarships so far and offered over $435,000!" (Since that announcement, several thousand more dollars in scholarship have been received and more are expected after the graduation ceremony, according to Laine.)
The Naselle-Grays River Valley Education Foundation awarded several scholarships im memory of community members and on behalf of families and organizations.
A memorial scholarship for $250 was awarded to Fritha Davern in honor of Peggy Busse; A memorial scholarship of $200 has been awarded to Branden Wirkkala in honor of Margaret Hill. The Rueben Penttila Memorial Scholarship for $200 was awarded to Thomas Gradt; The Ron Holm Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $250 went to Randi Magnuson on behalf of Mrs. Kenneth Holm; A $250 scholarship was awarded in memory of Emma Holm to Robin Andrea II; A $200 scholarship in memory of Mae Streifel was awarded to Tony Wirkkala; A $200 scholarship in honor of H. Robert Johnson was awarded to Nick Kato.
Two scholarships in the amount of $750 each, on behalf of Wahkiakum West Communications, were awarded to Sheriann Wirkkala and Lucy Rubio; This year's recipients of a Naselle Education Foundation Scholarship for $200 each are Nora Darcher and Jordan Varila; Two members of this year's graduating class, to Abbie Smith and Zach Badger, will be the recipients of the Carson Burkhalter Memorial Scholarships of $325 each on behalf of the Burkhalter family;
Five members of this year's senior class will be the recipients of the 2nd Annual Harry Thornberg Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $500 each. This year's recipients of the 2nd annual Harry Thornberg Memorial Scholarships are Brian Beaulaurier, Brittney Oster, Mike Wilson, Matt Queral, and Amanda Sprotti.
The Naselle Education Foundation awarded a $500 scholarship to Kristi Ray on behalf of the Naselle-Grays River Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Two members of this year's senior class were the first recipients of the Lyle and Elaine Patterson Tribute Scholarship. The Naselle Education Foundation announced the winners of this year's tribute scholarships on behalf of the Merle Sorenson family who would like to honor both Lyle and Elaine for their faithful and committed service to the Naselle-Grays River Valley School District and community. Each year, a boy and a girl will receive a $1,000 scholarship on behalf of the Merle Sorenson family in commemoration of Lyle and Elaine. Applicants are selected upon the basis of academic excellence, outstanding citizenship, community service, and athletic achievement. This year's recipients of the first annual Lyle and Elaine Patterson Tribute Scholarships were Robin Andrea II and Abbie Smith.
Other local scholarships: The Naselle Lutheran Church awarded $500 to Sheriann Wirkkala; The Bank of the Pacific awarded a $2,250 scholarship to Nora Darcher; The Pacific County Sheriff's Reserve presented a $250 scholarship to Jordan Varila and Varila also received a Naselle Lutheran Church scholarship in the amount of $500 and The Campbell Group of Longview scholarship for $500; The Foundation for Rural Education and Development awarded a scholarship in the amount of $500 to Sheriann Wirkkala.
Matt Queral was the recipient of a $1,000 Elks Most Valuable Student Scholarship. The Naselle Lutheran Church awarded a scholarship in the amount of $500 to Matt Queral. The Ralph McGough Memorial Scholarship for $250 went to Matt Queral. Matt also received a complimentary $100 scholarship from Wahkiakum West Communications in recognition of his outstanding achievements and for submitting his application for a Foundation for Rural Education and Development Scholarship.
Abbie Smith received local scholarships from The Naselle Assembly of God Youth Group in the amount of $500 and a Naselle Lions Club Scholarship in the amount of $250. She also received the $500 Bobbit Hall Memorial Scholarship presented by a Hall family member, Chuck Hendrickson; A Naselle Lions Club Scholarship in the amount of $250 was awarded to Kristi Ray; The Naselle Assembly of God Church presented Amanda Sprotti with a scholarship in the amount of $500; The Alpha Theta ESA recipients of $250 scholarships are are Jordan Varila and Zach Badger.
Brian Beaulaurier received a $500 scholarship from the The Campbell Group of Longview and one from the Naselle Lutheran Church for $500; The Naselle Lutheran Church awarded a $500 scholarship to Zach Badger and he also received a Naselle Lions Club Scholarship in the amount of $250 and the Andy and Virginia Johnson $200 scholarship; The International Woodworker's of America, Local #3-11 awarded Mike Wilson with a $400 scholarship; The Naselle Lutheran Church awarded a $500 scholarship to Nick Kato; and The Naselle Lutheran Church awarded a $500 scholarship to Randi Magnuson. Magnuson will also receive a $1,000 Washington Federation of Career Schools and Colleges Scholarship. Sheriann Wirkkala has been selected as a WIAA District IV $250 scholarship recipient.
There were no Wahkiakum Dollars for Scholars Scholarship recipients this year. The Robert C. Byrd and Washington Promise Scholarships will not announced until later.
Scholarships from colleges: Matt Queral will be attending Whitman College in Walla Walla in the fall. Matt is the recipient of a $16,850 per year Whitman Diversity Scholarship (totaling $67,400). Matt will also receive a $5,000 per year Stephen Penrose Scholarship in recognition of his exceptional promise for contributing to the academic life at Whitman College. Matt will receive a total $21,850 per year from Whitman College (totaling-$87,400) in honor of his academic excellence and extracurricular accomplishments
Nick Kato received a scholarship from DeVry University in the amount of $1,500 per quarter, totaling $13,500 over 3 years tin recognition of his academic achievement and technical skills.
Sheriann Wirkkala will receive academic merit scholarships in the amount of $12,100 per year from Gonzaga University which will total $48,400 over four years.
Nora Darcher was offered a $7,500 per year Presidential Scholarship (totaling $30,000) from Whitworth College in Spokane in recognition of her academic excellence and athletic achievements. Nora was also offered a $10,000 per year academic merit scholarship (totaling $40,000) from Ithaca College in New York, and a $7,000 per year Ignatius Academic Distinction Scholarship (totaling $28,000) from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Nora has declined these offers and will attend Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Nora will receive a merit based Carnegie Mellon Undergraduate Grant in the amount of $20,120 per year (totaling $80,480) in recognition of her academic and athletic achievements.
Jordan Varila was nominated to receive a $6,000 Washington State University Regents Scholarship in recognition of her academic excellence, outstanding citizenship, extracurricular involvement, and community service. Jordan has declined this scholarship and will attend Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. Jordan was the selected as the recipient of a 50 percent tuition waiver in the very prestigious and competitive Western Undergraduate Exchange Program. Through this program, Jordan will receive a tuition waiver in the approximate amount of $6,600 per year, totaling $26,400 over 4 years. Jordan was selected upon the basis of academic excellence, her chosen major, and her career potential.
In recognition of her academic achievement and leadership ability, Abbie Smith will receive a $5,000 year Provost's Scholar Award from Seattle Pacific University which will total $20,000 over 4 years. Abbie will also receive a $2,000 per year Philip W. Eaton Scholarship Award in recognition of her academic excellence and outstanding character. Abbie will receive scholarships totaling $28,000 from Seattle Pacific University.
Kristi Ray is the recipient of a $6,000 Washington State University Regents Scholarship. Kristi (and Jordan) were nominated and selected on the basis of academic excellence, leadership ability, extracurricular involvement, community service, communication skills, and outstanding achievements. Washington State University Regents Scholars must possess a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.8 and intend to enroll at Washington State University. Kristi will be attending WSU in the fall.
Laine concluded the awards part of the program by saying, "This concludes the awards and scholarships section of our commencement exercise. We are very proud of this year's graduating class for their tremendous accomplishments. We are also very appreciative for the ongoing support of their families. Our students have worked very hard to earn their special honors, recognition, and awards. We wish each and every one of you the best of luck and look forward to hearing of great things from you!"
The 28 seniors then received what they had spent 13 years of their educational lives working toward, their high school diplomas. Superintendent Schmidtke and School Board Chairman Robert Torppa presented diplomas to: Iva Abbott, Robin Andrea II, Zach Badger, Brian Beaulaurier, Moras Borak, Chris Cook, Nora Darcher, Fritha Davern, Cody Davis, Kevin Durrah, Thomas Gradt, Dawn Herman, Sean Houghton, Nick Kato.
Randi Magnuson, Brittany Oster, Matt Queral, Kristi Ray, Lucy Rubio, Zach Ruch, Tak Sato, Abbie Smith, Amanda Sprotti, Jordan Varila, Mike Wilson, Branden Wirkkala, Sheriann Wirkkala, and Tony Wirkkala.
With the presentation of the class by Superintendent Schmidtke and their departure from the stage to the band's playing of the recessional, the twenty-eight 2003 graduates would now be known as alumni of Naselle High School.