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They ‘rocked the school’

King’s West seniors anxiously await their turn to cross the stage and pick up their diplomas.  - Photo by Tracey Cooper
King’s West seniors anxiously await their turn to cross the stage and pick up their diplomas.
— image credit: Photo by Tracey Cooper

With the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah playing, 32 of the newest King’s West graduates reveled in their accomplishment.

Some girls squealed and some guys chest-bumped with classmates as parents searched a sea of black mortarboards for their children following a ceremony at Crossroads Neighborhood Church Friday, June 10.

“They have accomplished much, but they have encouraged much as well,” said King’s West Principal Nick Sweeney as he introduced the class of 2005.

Salutatorian Kerri Ondracek read the 1997 “Every One’s Free to Wear Sunscreen” written by Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich. Among its tidbits of advice were chunks of humor.

“Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine,” Ondracek read.

She then affirmed what everyone in the church already knew.

“This year’s senior class pretty much rocked the school,” she said.

Onradcek, who plans to attend the University of Washington, also dispensed advice of her own.

“Always remember no matter where you are, no matter where you go, your family’s got your back,” she said.

Valedictorian Chelsea Lye urged her classmates to pursue their dreams.

“Remember your dreams at this very moment. Don’t let anyone ever tell you your dreams are unrealistic,” she said. Lye plans to attend the University of Washington.

Soon-to-be-graduate Megan Smaaladen and King’s West teacher Greg Thacher performed Baloche’s song “Offering.”

Then Thacher addressed the students.

He said their blood, sweat and tears have brought them where they are. It was no longer about how he impacted his students, but how they shaped him. He thanked each of the students individually and as a whole.

“It is about you and how you impacted me. People will remember what you have done,” Thacher said.

Crowning achievement

Renaissance students graduate.

Some have got a running start on college, other Renaissance High School students have honed their skills at West Sound Tech. Some have overcome obstacles to finally finish high school.

All 15 students graduated Wednesday night.

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