"Gonna be a bright, bright, sunshiny day"
June 25, 2008 · Updated 11:58 AM
"The South Whidbey High School class of 2000 was hot, hot, hot last weekend. Eighty-degree temperatures and bright blue skies gave the graduates the warmest, sunniest graduation ceremony the school has ever seen.In this millennium, at least.Resplendent in metallic blue robes at Waterman Field, 162 South Whidbey graduates accepted diplomas and congratulations Saturday at the school's annual commencement ceremony. Held outside for the first time in more than four years, the event drew hundreds of parents, friends and relatives of the graduates.Proving that they were ready to do the rest of their life learning on their own, the graduates largely gave themselves their own send-off. Between short congratulatory speeches from school principal Mike Johnson and district superintendent Lisa Bjork, senior speakers and musicians saluted the class of 2000. Class choice speaker Jessie Ellison warmed up his classmates what little he could under the scorching sun, giving them one last poetry lesson while quoting from the classics.Class valedictorian Briony Morrow-Cribbs received some of the biggest cheers of the day when she stood up to give her address. But before she took the first glance at her cue cards, she started reaching for her mortar board.I just have to do this, Morrow-Cribbs said, removing her cap and pulling the spikes of her well-known mohawk straight up.She thanked her classmates for being who they are and for accepting her for who she is. It is that sort of open-mindedness they will need as they venture out into the world, she said. Then, unable to resist telling one more joke, Morrow-Cribbs ran her hands over the clipper-short hair surrounding her mohawk and mentioned how much effort she put into writing her valedictorian speech.I spent the whole night pulling my hair out, she said.Faculty-choice speaker Michael Morgen-Burke encouraged his classmates to consider the many alternatives open to them in the coming years. Turning his back on an audience seated in chairs and in the Waterman Field grandstands in order to speak to his classmates directly, Morgen-Burke said he will spend the next year living in a trailer home with friends, working, and taking community college classes paid for by a scholarship I didn't even apply for.Not all the seniors have plans as concrete as Morgen-Burke's. Senior class president Nick Yacono said that while many of his classmates have definite plans for more schooling or to go to work, graduation day still leaves nearly every graduate wondering what the future holds.Now that it's rolled around, it's hard to know what to do, Yacono said.Then, at Yacono's cue, the graduates threw their mortar boards high into the air and then threw themselves into the waiting arms of parents, friends, and family."