Oak Harbor High School seniors graduate | Slideshow

“Persistence” was the theme for Oak Harbor High School’s commencement Monday

“Wildcats, through your hard work and dedication, you’ve taken the first step of this next pyramid in your lives,” said Rachel Margraf, one of three Oak Harbor valedictorians.

Graduate Tricia Desquitado said a teacher once told her commencement ceremonies allow parents and families “to see what you’ve done, so they can see that you finished high school, so they can be proud of you.”

Desquitado said Monday afternoon she looked forward “just to celebrate finishing high school with everyone.”

“The highlight would probably be when they recognize the seniors who earn scholarships or offers from schools,” she said.

Graduate Julian Faralan said he most looked forward to loading onto the bus that would take him and his classmates to the Grad Night celebration.

Faralan said he was looking forward to leaving the high school at the end of the ceremony, closing the high school chapter of his life and starting the next one.

“It hasn’t hit me yet,” Faralan said before the procession began. “I’m sure I’ll feel something when I’m up, walking.”

Faralan said he will be attending the University of Washington with a couple local scholarships, majoring in business administration. He’s unsure exactly what he wants to do, but is thinking about accounting, marketing or doing something to benefit undergraduate student programs.

He added he wants to help other students get on a good path like he found, to get to the point where they’re going to college and “just set for their future.”

This year, 309 seniors graduated from Oak Harbor High School.

“You all should be so proud of yourselves and what you have accomplished,” said Allie Gordie, another student speaker during the commencement ceremony.

“It’s a big deal.”

In addition to Margraf, the other valedictorians were Kimberley Forster and Gabriel Groenig.

“For the rest of your lives, you will have countless opportunities to be the light for someone in dark places, to lift up those who have fallen down and to help them cross the finish line, just as others have helped you,” said Lance Gibbon, superintendent of Oak Harbor schools.

“Remember that a good grade matters, but a good attitude is the difference between success and failure,” said School Board President Christine Cribb.

“Whatever you do in your life, be the best at it, and be persistent,” Gordie said, “because persistence will ultimately bring you all the happiness you deserve and desire.”

“We must remember that everything we do from this point on is for ourselves, and no one else,” Forster said.

“We are what we make of ourselves.”


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