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Sunny skies grace White River commencement exercises

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By Kevin Hanson

The Courier-Herald

Bright sun, bright smiles and a bright future.

Such were the key elements Monday evening as White River High School said goodbye to more than 240 graduating seniors. Commencement exercises took place at the White River Amphitheatre.

Sandwiched between vocal numbers by the talented White River choirs, class co-valedictorians Samantha Long and Daniel Riel offered classmates some words of encouragement.

Riel recalled when the Class of 2007 arrived on the brand-new White River campus, tucked away in the woods. As freshmen, “We weren't the only ones lost,” he said. “Everyone was.”

He highlighted the group intensity, noting how “we were ready to take on the world, only to learn it was three years away.”

Long brought her classmates up to the minute. “Look were we are now,” she said. “And just where we can go.”

Principal Mike Hagadone had opened the ceremony by telling the audience, “Today marks a new chapter in the lives of our seniors.” Getting in one final, gentle dig, the principal acknowledged to the seniors, “yes, you have challenged our staff.”

But the evening was about successes, futures without limits and those who have excelled.

Special recognition went to Chelsea Oliver, this year's recipient of the White River High School Staff Inspirational Award. Teacher Amy Miller said the senior has “inspired our school, staff and community.” The award carries a $500 scholarship.

Making the list of this year's academic high achievers were Andrew Baron, Ashley Bright, Kelly Brons, Samantha Buchanan, Kimberly Carreiro, Karina Davis, Brieann Johnsen, Kylie LaPlant, Cassandra Lenhart, Samantha Long, Jessica Magstadt, Bonnie Marshall, Aretha Nguyen, Jenifer Pitman, Brittany Pring, Shane Reynolds, Kathryn Rice, Amanda Ridge, Daniel Riel, Benjamin Rock, Shala Scott, Amy Shackles, Christina Siewert and Elizabeth Sweitzer.

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