Knights shine in annual tradition

In a scene out of a medieval palace, a knight dressed in shining armor made select Bremerton High School seniors Knights in their own right.

Noah Greenwald, Jace White, Anibel America, Judith Shoesmith, Kyle Boyington, Leilani Battle, Brianne Adams, Michelle Ibarra, Tessie Goheen, Casey Marett, Nathan Adrian, Shontara Anderson, Daniel Sawyers, Demetrius Gittens, Cassandra Metz, Maria Lafferty and Stacy Gonzalez are the latest additions to the Knights of the Round Table, a BHS tradition dating back decades.

The 17 were chosen after a long process. The senior class meets first and nominates 10 percent of their ranks (34 students this year) before a committee of five staff members, four seniors, three juniors and two sophomores cuts the nominees in half for a final slice of the five percent of seniors worthy of the honor, according to teacher Mike McKnight.

This is one of the longest-running traditions in Washington at a high school ... of students honoring their peers,” McKnight said.

McKnight spoke prior to the ceremony of some of the history behind the Knight mascot and its tradition. In 1958, students decided they needed something to represent the Knight so they set out to selling magazine and newspaper subscriptions to pay for a suit of armor purchased from an antiques dealer in Hollywood, he said.

“It did everything,” he said of the suit. “It’s been in parades and athletic events ... even atop a white horse that went around the track until one day, somebody fell off (and it was) decided, that was too dangerous.”

The suit of armor, more than two centuries old, was retired when the classes of 2000 and 2001 combined their efforts to buy a new, lighter suit and preserve the old one in a case at the school’s entrance.

Following the history lesson, the names of all 34 nominees were read before the junior class officers dressed in graduation robes set about their task of circling the nominees with a suspenseful drum roll to tap each new Knight one by one.

Once selected, the Knights kneeled on a pillow to receive the tap of the sword on each shoulder signaling their ascendence.

“I’ve been looking forward to this moment,” White said.

Boyington agreed.

“It’s such an honor that doesn’t really have words,” he said. “Being selected is the highest honor you can get.”

“One of the first things you see when you enter the school is the Knight. And you wonder what it all means,” Battle said. “And then when you’re a senior and you’re knighted, you truly learn what it means and how important it is.”

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