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"Student athletes make island proudSouth Whidbey High School student athletes just finished an incredible first year in the ranks of Class AA schools. It goes to show what can happen when you compete against somebody your own size.Last weekend, a handful of girl tennis players brought home the state title, and the boys soccer team ended an amazing late-season run by finishing second in state, falling only a goal away from a state championship. Meanwhile, 17 Falcon boys and girls were competing in the state track meet after an outstanding regular season. South Whidbey also sent representatives to the state boys and girls golf championships.The inspirational girls fastpitch team went to the bi-district tournament for the first time in its history after failing to win a game in either of its prior two seasons; and the baseball team earned a playoff berth.In winter sports, the girls basketball team was among top teams in the state. While the boys struggled, they showed hope for the future. And the wrestling team sent more grapplers than ever to the state mat classic.Last fall, the football team was more competitive than in recent years and appears to be on the road to regaining some of its glory days of the '70s and '80s. Volleyball, traditionally a very strong sport on South Whidbey, will also likely fare very well against Class AA opponents. And the girls soccer team enjoyed its most successful season in years.South Whidbey has always had its share of outstanding athletes and coaches, but the school's size, teetering between the AA and AAA brackets, has been a problem. When it competed at the AAA level against much larger schools, the price was high in terms of player morale, school spirit and community support for athletics.Now that the Falcons are playing against schools their own size, they're winning more. That old excitement is back. And although playing AA sports means traveling to play those distant Whatcom County schools, the price in terms of time and money is well worth it. Our student athletes are now creating winning memories that will last them a lifetime.Community produces more fine graduatesSouth Whidbey High School first opened its doors during the 1982 school year. Next Saturday, children born during that year will themselves be graduating from South Whidbey High School.Many of the graduates have spent all their years attending South Whidbey schools, and participating in South Whidbey athletics and arts. Those of us who are parents can remember what at the time seemed like endless days of music lessons, Little League, art classes, drama presentations, school sports, science projects, essay deadlines, and all the rest that goes with growing up on South Whidbey.As parents watch their children march down the aisle Saturday, they will all be thinking of those years in which their children grew up with the help of so many South Whidbey residents who shared their skills and talents with the children. Our many outstanding teachers did their share, and even the businesses helped, providing jobs to help students save for college tuition and buy those clothes, cars and CD's the kids just had to have but the parents couldn't afford. There were always adults available to help teenagers in trouble, and clubs, organizations and churches to provide appropriate ways to expend all that energy and to reward their hard work.The young adults who will receive their diplomas Saturday are the product of uncountable caring adults who have contributed positively to their upbringing. The parents couldn't have turned out these fine young citizens all by themselves. It took the entire community to produce the South Whidbey High School Class of 2000. Speaking for all the parents, we can say thanks for the help. You did a great job."

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