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South Whidbey Class of '01 graduates

"Co-valedictorian Sarah DeGraaf says goodbye during her address to the Class of 2001.Matt Johnson, staff photosThere was so much blue in the South Whidbey High School gymnasium Saturday afternoon, you'd think somebody would have been sad.Any of the tears that did fall, however, were tears of happiness, not a sign of the blues. Saturday was the day 164 South Whidbey students received diplomas and graduated from high school. Now, instead of counting down the weeks of summer vacation until the start of the next school year, the graduates of the Class of 2001 are looking for jobs, getting ready to go to college, or ticking off the days until they head off to one of the United States armed services.As their parents, teachers, friends and relatives watched, the graduates gingerly eased themselves out of their high school careers. Co-valedictorian Sarah DeGraaf noted in her address to the class that the past few weeks had flown by so quickly she hardly considered herself prepared for Saturday's commencement. She said even her speech, which she started thinking about more than a month ago, was a last minute effort mixed with dozens of other last-minute tasks.Knowing they would have to begin looking ahead the moment they left the graduation ceremony, the class took some time to look back and remember. In the darkened and overly warm gym, the class watched a slide show filled with high school moments caught on film. Class president Megan Bartlett, who was charged with the class's final sendoff, said during her speech that the 12 years of school each senior needed to graduate Saturday would prove to be the basis of who they were. She then took several minutes to recognize graduates who spent that entire time on South Whidbey.These students have gone from storytime to term papers all on South Whidbey, she said. After marching out to meet their friends and family for hugs and congratulations, 99 members of the graduating class prepared for the school-sponsored grad-night party. Having been given no details about the party beforehand, the students boarded buses at about 9 p.m. and headed for Pier 57 in Seattle. Once there, they went aboard an Argosy cruise boat for dancing, food, and casino-style gambling. Denise Perkins, one of the party organizers, said the hit of cruise was a hypnotist who convinced a number of students that they were on a Mexican beach, in Alaska, and that their classmates were running around wearing only their underwear.After the cruise, the group traveled to Fantasia, a game arcade where the graduates played video games, laser tag, and other fun contests. They had breakfast at the arcade at 5 a.m. before returning home. "

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