Resilience is celebrated by Oak Harbor High School Class of 2012

The day finally arrived for Oak Harbor High School seniors to ceremoniously step into the world as the Class of 2012 graduated Monday, June 11.

Students lined up before the ceremony, making last minute adjustments to caps and snapping photos with friends as crowds of family members found seats in the high school stadium.

The sun showed its face for most of the ceremony, with only a light breeze to tug at caps and gowns as the students marched around the track and took their seats facing proud family and friends.

Corey Johnson, president of the Oak Harbor School Board, spoke first, mentioning students whose parents are busy in the community, from school board members to volunteers to employees.

“Now it’s your turn to step up to this responsibility,” Johnson told the graduates, challenging them to get involved in the community that helped them through hard times. “Please pay it forward. Get involved.”

The first of two valedictorians, Ciara Hu, spoke next, commemorating the graduates’ parents for seeing them through it all, from their “burbles and coos” to the unique individuals they are today.

“Not achieving your goals is not failure. Not setting your goals is failure,” Hu said, adding that when they meet one of these goals, it’s like “defeating a dungeon boss” in a video game and advancing to the next level of life.

“Let’s remember to dream a little bigger, strive a little further and make this world better for all,” Hu said.

The speaker chosen by the class, Jasmine Case-Smith, talked of her resiliency during the tough time when her mother was admitted to Harborview Intensive Care Unit this school year. She did her college applications to the “dings and beeps of my mom’s medical machines” and worked hard at a time when it would have been easy to give up.

Resiliency isn’t just what the graduates need in the future, it’s what got them to where they are now, Case-Smith said, welcoming the Class of 2012 to the beginning of the rest of their lives.

The second valedictorian, Tucker Lundstrom, explained that success depends on resiliency.

“Only you can make yourself stronger through trial and strife,” Lundstrom said, speaking about his work to make weightlifting records and the perseverance of the football team as it won all but two games this season despite being underestimated.

“I challenge you, in fact I implore you, to be tenacious in everything you do,” Lundstrom said.

Dwight Lundstrom, high school principal, applauded the Class of 2012 for earning $4.9 million in scholarship offers to colleges, military academies and from the community. Resiliency was the word of the evening as he congratulated the students for thriving despite being the only class to spend two years split between the north and main campuses of the high school while the new school was under construction.

“Your success is dependent on you,” Dwight Lundstrom said, adding that it’s up to the graduates to define success for themselves now.

Superintendent Rick Schulte noted that this year is the 100th anniversary of Oak Harbor schools and in looking back, he realized that two areas those students were graded on were Latin class and deportment, very different from the physics and math students study today. While Latin might not have been much help to those students, deportment was, and should be to the Class of 2012. No matter what their futures hold, treating others with respect and dignity and conducting themselves with integrity and honor is of utmost importance to the graduates, Schulte said.

Then it was time for the students to receive their diplomas to the cheering of their family and friends. Students hugged and smiled as they posed for photos. After all the names were called, the students moved their cords, threw their caps into the air and cheered.

“It was good, it was really exciting,” Hu said after embracing family members following the ceremony.

“I thought it was really nice,” her mother, Janet Tipping Hu, said of the graduation. “The weather was the nicest out of the three I’ve been to.”

Jack Tipping, Ciara Hu’s uncle, congratulated the Hus on having three valedictorians at past graduations.

“It’s unbelievable,” Tipping said, adding with a laugh that as far as speakers at the ceremony go, “the superintendent was the next best after Ciara.”

Graduate Sarah Morical received hugs from family members, including her mom, Oak Harbor native Tina Ford.

“I am so proud of her. She is very well prepared,” Ford said. Morical is heading into the Navy to be an IT specialist.

“It’s taken a long time to get here and I’m really happy it’s finally here!”  Morical said of graduation.

Sherrie and Mark Dieter congratulated their son, Ryan Dieter, their first child to graduate.

“There were a lot of smiles,” Sherrie Dieter said, adding how proud she is of her son.

“Knowing that you’re done, it’s a great feeling,” Ryan Dieter said, adding that now he just has to prepare to attend the University of Texas - Arlington in the fall. “It’s exciting!”


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