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Collins High seniors were hard workers
By Brenda Sexton
A soon-to-be graduate of Collins High School described her class as "very determined," "extremely hard working," and proud of their accomplishments as a group, even though many had doubts as to whether they would make it to receive a diploma.
Approximately 48 graduates, one of Collins High's biggest, are expected to earn diplomas at Collins High School's student-directed commencement ceremony Thursday. Festivities begin at 7 p.m. in the White River School District Annex auditorium (on "A" Street) in Buckley.
Teachers and counselor Kim Gunn agreed this group of students is one of the hardest working classes in the school's history. Collins High is a combination of students from Enumclaw, White River, Sumner and Orting school districts at a central location in Buckley.
One teacher said this group had the best role models, "especially as teen moms."
The Class of 2004 was also described as energetic and excited, while still being uncertain about their future.
An uncertainty, Gunn said, reflects "our feeling as a country right now. We're kind of in limbo right now. We don't know where we're going or what we're doing."
She said many students don't know if jobs or school are in their future, and, she said, they are wondering whether they are going to be able to do what they want to do.
But, if any group is going to persevere it's this group. Gunn said they are proud of themselves and their accomplishments. At a personal level they are very successful. They've seen their hard work pay off. They can handle anything thrown their way.
"Everyone would agree what I just told you describes the class," Gunn said. "Their kind of a quiet group. We've had more flamboyant groups. We've had more artistic groups. Their kind of quiet, hard workers.
"They've done their best and we're really proud of them," Gunn said.
More than half the class has its future in sight as they plan to go on to college. Many others have jobs or apprenticeships lined up.
Gunn credits teacher Barb Melvin's career class for the high numbers. As part of the curriculum, each student must design a fifth-year plan, regardless of whether they fall through. For example, students must fill out college applications, take entrance exams and apply for scholarships and financial aid.
Many students will be honored at graduation for their achievements. One of those will be Rebecca Walker-Lee, recipient of a Washington Promise Scholarship.
Gov. Gary Locke created the Promise Scholarship program in 1999. During the 2002 legislative session, lawmakers made the program permanent and Locke signed it into law.
Students may use the scholarships at public two- and four-year colleges and universities, or accredited independent colleges, universities and private career schools in Washington.