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Ceremony sees about 300 earn diplomas

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By Kevin Hanson

The Courier-Herald

It was a time for laughter, a time for tears. A time for apprehensive teenagers, bursting-with-pride parents and raucous friends.

Monday was graduation night at the White River Amphitheatre, when approximately 300 young adults from the Enumclaw High School graduating class of 2005 took their final steps as members of the public, K-12 system.

Jobs, college, marriage or the military might await. But, for one final night, it was time to reflect on the enormity of their achievement.

Students prefer listening to their peers, so it was fellow students who had the most to say on a glorious, sun-drenched night.

Class speaker Rachel Jepsen borrowed heavily from Robert Fulgham's "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten," when she reminded classmates to always share, clean up their own messes, play fair, flush and live a balanced life. "When you go out into the world, it's best to hold hands and stick together," she concluded.

A second speaker, Andrew Son, recalled being extremely lonely when moving with his family to Enumclaw shortly before the start of his freshman year.

Bringing forth such varied memories as tailgate parties before football games and the smell of the weight room, Son thanked his classmates for making him part of their family. They were departing high school "not as a conglomeration of cliques, but as one huge fellowship," he said.

Elizabeth Inman paused to thank those who have made such a great difference in the grads' lives - namely, parents and teachers. Parents have witnessed everything from their child's first steps to the huge step into adulthood they were taking Monday night. As for educators, she said, "Not one teacher goes by without making you a better person."

Between speakers, the talent found within the class of 2005 was put on display, as Susie Casey, Holly Graff and Shantel McKinley sang, while the EHS wind ensemble also performed.

When Enumclaw High Principal Terry Parker took to the podium, it was to offer congratulations to the soon-to-be grads and thanks to all who helped guide them along the way. The end result, he said, "is a very special group of young men and women." It's a group, he told all assembled, that will leave a lasting legacy at EHS.

Giving one final lesson, Parker told the graduates to be prosperous as they enter the world, but to always remember the advantages they have had. "Remember to give back to the community, to your parents and to the schools," he said.

It was Parker's pleasant task to point out the achievements garnered by this year's class. This year's group has secured scholarships valued at more than $250,000 for next year alone, he pointed out; over the course of four years, that value climbs to almost $720,000.

As one of his final acts of the year, Parker singled out three groups of deserving students. He announced those ranking in the top 10 academically: Grace Amos, Helen Amos, Jordan Dehline, Jessie Holm, Lance Holte, Drew Koplitz, Chance LaFleur, Mollie Marine, Melanie Rudd and Daniel Zender. Parker highlighted this year's senior class officers: co-presidents Skyler Brown and Elizabeth Inman, secretary Ernest Farmer, treasurer Mollie Marine, fund-raising chair Donovan Osborn and class representatives Tiffany Grant, Ashley Kenney and Andrew Son. And Parker noted this year's student body officers: president Rachel Jepson, treasurer Garrett Engeset and the following commissioners - for athletics/publicity Sarah Epperson, historian Lacey McHugh, noontime Fawn Clark, parking Danelle Arbogast, special events Susie Casey, student life Emily Oster and Jessica Iunker, and technology Kellen VanWieringen.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.-com.

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