Coupeville graduates another class

Coupeville High School graduates Rachel Kuhnle, Stacie Clarke, Gary Manker, Rosa Felici and Ian Miranda await the ceremony Friday evening.   - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Coupeville High School graduates Rachel Kuhnle, Stacie Clarke, Gary Manker, Rosa Felici and Ian Miranda await the ceremony Friday evening.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

Approximately 40 percent of Coupeville High School's graduating class has been together since kindergarten, but it all came to an end Friday night.

Those close-knit students, along with the rest of the Class of 2008, heard highlights or their public school careers and lessons learned over the past 13 years as speakers too their turn during the graduation ceremony.

Valedictorian Danny Brown touched upon the important lessons he picked up throughout elementary, middle and high school.

"When a girl hits you, it means she really likes you," Brown joked about one of the lessons he learned in elementary school.

In middle school he learned the consequences of throwing parties on days when school was dismissed early.

"I learned if you continued to have half-day parties, your dad is bound to come home early," Brown said.

He pointed out that 31 one of the 72 members of the Class of 2008 have been together since kindergarten.

"We have literally grown and learned together and now we must depart together," Brown told the audience.

There were also four co-salutatorians, Nathan Stroud, Kyle Wilcox, Michael Vier and Sam Parker, who also spoke Friday night.

Vier, maintaining Brown's light-hearted approach, quoted Peanuts creator Charles Schultz, who said "no problem is too big to run away from."

Stroud, who has been involved in the school band, said he was finally ready to accept the future when he saw his bandmates practice Pomp and Circumstance in the days leading up to the ceremony. He told the crowd about the work he performed preparing his senior project aimed at getting him on the right track for the future.

In a bit of a change from previous years, three members of the school's faculty, Ryan Grenz, Willie Smith, and Patsi Waller, were selected by the students to speak. Usually only one faculty member is so honored.

Waller touched upon the importance of a student's character; Smith talked about the varied talents each member of the class possesses and how relationships are important; and Grenz talked about his efforts to help students change the way they think about the world around them.

High school Principal Sheldon Rosenkrance complimented the class of 2008 on their accomplishments, especially since the 72 graduates are the first batch of students who had to pass a new set of requirements in order to graduate. They were required to pass the reading and writing sections of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, and they had to develop a senior project. They're also the first to graduate from the new Coupeville High School which was dedicated last fall.

Rosenkrance said he memorized several of the seniors' cell phone numbers. He'd call them up to convince them to make their senior presentations. "You have to come in and present. You have to come in and present," Rosenkrance recalled. His coaxing worked, as virtually all presentations were made successfully.

In addition to the numerous speakers, Stroud performed on the piano and Hayley Ebersole performed a solo.

Following the ceremony, graduates, parents and family swarmed to the commons area for a reception. Following the reception the graduates headed to their senior party for one final night of togetherness.

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