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South Whidbey's Class of 2010 says goodbye with style

Julie Iversen waits for her name to be called as teacher Andy Davis announces the 2010 graduates. - Brian Kelly / The Record
Julie Iversen waits for her name to be called as teacher Andy Davis announces the 2010 graduates.
— image credit: Brian Kelly / The Record

LANGLEY — The commencement ceremony for the 2010 class at South Whidbey High School was not so much a goodbye as a “see you later.”

At least, that was the hope offered by Dakota Hanna, the class-choice speaker.

“You guys are capable of anything, and wherever you go, always remember there is a home for you here at South Whidbey,” he told his classmates before a standing-room-only crowd of more than 2,000 family and friends in the school’s gym on Saturday. “You are the writers of your own destiny.”

The underlying theme of the commencement was that this class had succeeded on so many levels — academically, artistically and athletically.

“This class was clearly motivated to achieve this day, overcoming all obstacles and proving you are special in many ways,” said principal Rob Prosch.

Prosch provided examples of how the Class of 2010 had excelled beyond expectations. There were plenty to choose from: the success of the sport teams, the jazz band’s preeminence, the drama program’s resurgence and the thousands of hours spent in community service by graduates.

All that, and they got good grades, too.

“Academically, 66 of our grads had a grade-point average in excess of 3.2, resulting in a record total of $650,000 in scholarships awarded,” Prosch added.

Prosch also noted the level of spirit exhibited by the class, including this year’s senior prank.

You know the end is near when the high school principal arrives on campus to find a trash can perched on the top of the school’s flagpole, a feat engineered by grad Danny Zuver.

“We wanted to do something different,” Zuver said. “The sign on the can said, ‘2010 seniors salute you,’ there were a couple Falcons and an American flag sticking out the top.” How did he get it up there?

“That’s a secret that will remain forever,” he said.

The mood turned serious, however, when Prosch took a few moments to pay heartfelt homage to a young girl who couldn’t be present at her graduation, Tonya Scriven.

The 15-year-old Greenbank student — a Falcon sophomore at the time — was hit by a car and killed while on her way home from Christmas shopping in December 2007.

“Every member of this class remembers and honors her, and she’s been named an honorary graduate of the Class of 2010,” he said.

District Superintendent Fred McCarthy noted he was impressed by the graduates’ sense of hope and responsibility. He also mentioned that they were very lucky to have been Falcons.

“This is a great place to launch a successful life,” he said.

Katie Holt, the Falcon with the second-highest grade point average — thus designated this year’s salutatorian — encouraged her friends to love the moment.

“But always keep your eyes on the future,” she added.

Zuver, the faculty-choice speaker, said that, while the past four years have been a good ride, the journey is really just beginning.

“I have no doubts, none at all, that this is the class that will reach its real potential,” he said. “I love you guys.”

As the young men and women celebrated ending one journey and embarking on another, valedictorian Cayla Calderwood shared some anecdotes about her fellow grads and noted that she has always been conscious of how close everyone is.

“We’re going to be a tough act to follow,” she said.

“We are the real deal, and we will be the role model for classes to come after us,” she said. “We’re a tight class, individually talented, that came together to create something great.”

Fellow valedictorian Natasha Kamps encouraged her classmates to find their passions and run with them, whatever they might be.

“Stand out, reach out and go beyond your comfort zone,” she said. “Don’t ever be afraid to go outside the box in pursuit of your goals.”

During the program, the Falcon choir sang “I Hope You Dance,” and seniors Taylor Herring and Devon Sidhu (with junior Miles Milfs) performed a rock tune they had written for their senior culminating project, “These Days.”

“This class is nothing if not talented,” class president Casey Fate noted.

With that, teachers Andy Davis and Mark Eager read out each graduate’s name, and the hard-won diplomas were presented by the members of the school board. As they exited, graduates and their guests were serenaded by the jazz band’s version of the Booker T. & The M.G.s’ classic, “Green Onions.”

Later there were hugs, tears, laughter and relief that it was all over.

Andy Bennett, headed to Haverford College outside Philadelphia in the fall, said he hoped those still in school enjoy their experiences as much as he did.

Jordan Thornley said the realization it was all over hadn’t really sunk in yet.

“When I took that first step off the stage, I was reminded how close we all became as a class; an amazing class,” he said.

Saying that some might think it’s a “little weird,” Allison Wood noted how proud the class was about what each had accomplished.

“We became a sort of family, and everyone contributed to the whole,” she said.

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