The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Dena Martin
The Times 

Waitsburg Graduates Embrace Future

Nineteen seniors received diplomas during Friday graduation ceremony


Courtesy Photo

Waitsburg High School graduating class of 2018 gathered for their class photo last week. Front row: Clarissa Espana, Kitty Lambert, Samuel McGowen, Emily Nettles, Deja Williams. Second row: Olivia Ortiz, Joseph LaRue Faughtenberry, Christopher Philbrook, Robert Walsh, Karlie Pettichord Mathews. Third row: Ariel Sandau, Chloe Pearson, Tayler Jones, Anne Marie Trent. Back row: Tyler Wood, Cade Branson, Richard Dibble, Thomas House, Brandon Boudrieau.

WAITSBURG – Nineteen anxious seniors, surrounded by friends and family, walked the length of Kison Court to receive their diplomas in Waitsburg High School's 122nd commencement ceremony on Friday evening.

Music teacher Brad Green directed the band in Pomp and Circumstance for the final time before his upcoming retirement, as Class Marshals Seamus House and Bradley Sandau, siblings of the graduating seniors, led the proud processional of soon-to-be graduates.

Associated student body president for 2017-18, Chloe Pearson, led the flag salute, and Superintendent Jon Mishra welcomed grads and guests.

Honor speaker Kitty Lambert, daughter of Chris and Tina Lambert, who held a 3.65 GPA, looked back at the obstacles she has overcome during her time in Waitsburg and encouraged her fellow students to continue trying, no matter how many times they might fail before succeeding.

Lambert shared her own difficulties, recalling how she would ask her first new friend her name each day, because she simply couldn't remember it.

"I felt bad about forgetting her name, but after a while I finally remembered it. This is just one example of my everyday life obstacles that was difficult at the time, but I learned from my mistake," she said.

Lambert gave examples of Walt Disney going bankrupt before creating his empire and Einstein's inability to speak fluently before age 12, as individuals who overcame adversity.

"What if Thomas Edison gave up after the tenth mistake he made when inventing the light bulb? What if he gave up after his 9,999th try?" she asked as she admonished her classmates to "go forth and make your own mistakes."

Honor Speaker Robert Walsh, son of Jim and Ann Walsh, holds a 3.70 GPA. Walsh shared several life lessons that all point back to some simple, yet powerful advice. Happiness is your choice.

Walsh quoted American entrepreneur Lynda Resnick, who said, "When you wake up each morning you can choose to be happy or choose to be sad. Unless some terrible catastrophe has occurred the night before, it is pretty much up to you."

Walsh reiterated the power each individual has over their own lives and outlook.

"Go out and find out what your happiness is and make it your own. We can't control the world, but we can control ourselves. Trust in life's way of working out when you put your best foot forward. Remember what's important to you and make your life your own," he said to his fellow graduates.

Salutatorian Ariel Sandau, daughter of Bradley and Veronica Sandau, graduated with a GPA of 3.71. Sandau took the audience on a trip down memory lane, recalling memories from learning to speak, to starting school, to "daddy-daughter" dances, middle school experiences and, finally, high school.

"So the point of this speech isn't just to blabber about our lives; it's really about an important lesson I've learned here at The Burg. Something I have taken away from high school is to embrace what is happening to you while you are in the moment. Embrace your bad grades and bad decisions and learn from them because clearly, we aren't all prefect. Embrace your friends and teachers, because the day will come when you will no longer see their familiar faces in the hallway," she said.

"So finally, while it will be easy to forget about test grades and projects we have completed in high school, one thing we should never forget are the experiences, choices and things we have done in high school, and to look forward to the experiences, choices and things we will do in our future. Whether it be the past, present, or future, never forget to embrace life," Sandau said, in conclusion.

Class valedictorian Chloe Pearson, with a 3.82 GPA, and is the daughter of Randy and Becky Pearson. Pearson also took listeners on a walk down memory lane before asking her fellow grads, "What will we do with our future?"

Pearson looked to Dr. Suess' book "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" for inspiration and advice. She cautioned her classmates to "step with care" as they make positive choices, "don't let anything hold you down for too long," and to "follow your heart and know that the sky is the limit when you give it all you've got."

Pearson also spoke to the importance of balance. "Be sure to find a balance and pursue your hobbies and dreams in between all the busyness. Another thing we must remember is to try new things. Let's not get stuck in the same routine for the rest of our lives. Step outside your box, see the world through a different perspective, do something you've always wanted to do. Make life fun and make happiness a priority," she said.

"But, no matter where we end up, or what it takes to get there, remember that we are capable of anything we put our minds to. Most importantly, above all, remember that this is where we came from, and where it all started," she concluded.

Pride in their hometown and a strong sense of place was a recurring theme throughout the ceremony. The Class of 2018 chose the words of Tim McGraw, "Chase your dreams, but know the road that leads you home again," as their class motto.

Graduates wearing the FFA medallion included Brandon Boudrieu, Thomas House and Deja Williams.

Graduates wearing gold honor cords, denoting a GPA of 3.25 or higher, and red and white Cardinal Honor Cords were: Chloe Pearson, Ariel Sandau, Robert Walsh, Kitty Lambert, Deja Williams, Christopher Philbrook, Tyler Wood and Tayler Jones.

Tyler Wood, Chloe Pearson, Robert Walsh and Deja Williams all wore white collars, denoting them as National Honor Society members.

Following the presentation of scholarships and special awards, school board members Christy House and Randy Pearson presented the new graduates with their diplomas. The grads exited the gymnasium to the strains of "Back Home," by Andy Grammer, before gathering on the high school lawn to receive congratulations from friends and family.


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