Hundreds finish high school in Oak Harbor

Oak Harbor High School graduates Sean Johnson and John Freitas show their diplomas during Monday’s ceremony at Wildcat Memorial Stadium.   - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Oak Harbor High School graduates Sean Johnson and John Freitas show their diplomas during Monday’s ceremony at Wildcat Memorial Stadium.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

Hundreds of young men and women filled with aspirations of heading to college or serving their country culminated their high school education in festive fashion Monday night.

Oak Harbor High School’s class of 2010 graduated on a blustery, cool Monday night at Wildcat Memorial Stadium in front of a grandstand packed with beaming parents, friends and family.

Peter Hunt, president of the Oak Harbor School Board, described high school as a “uniquely American experience” with its combination of academics, clubs, athletics and extracurricular activities.

“We Americans like to try new things,” Hunt said. “We understand that to experience is to learn, and to learn is to succeed.”

The four top students — Kayla Carsten, Meijiao Jaehning, Ariel McCarter and Nathan Young — spoke about how such traits as discipline, perseverance and vision are crucial for success.

McCarter spoke about success and the importance of perseverance.

“Faith isn’t the deciding factor in our lives. It’s up to us to make our own destiny,” McCarter said.

Ally Tennial, who is the first person in her family in three generations to graduate, also spoke. As a future student of Northwest Nazarene University, she spoke about how she still succeeded even after her mom surrendered her parental rights on Tennial’s 16th birthday. She also offered words of success for her classmates.

Tenniel said encouraged her classmates to find something that sparks their interest. When that happens “you’re going to soar,” Tennial said during the ceremony.

Principal Dwight Lundstrom noted that the class of 2010 experienced a number of firsts throughout their four years of high school. They were the first class to deal with the construction of the stadium and renovation of the high school. They saw the football team bring home the school’s first state championship in 2006, and they were the last to use the old Memorial Stadium on Midway Boulevard. They were the first to use Wildcat Memorial Stadium, the new CTE building and the new SUB building at the high school.

Parents and family who weren’t able to attend Monday’s ceremony could watch it over the Internet thanks to the efforts of the students of Wildcat TV. Last year around 100 people in Afghanistan and Japan connected via Internet to watch the class of 2009 graduate, Superintendent Rick Schulte said.

Following the ceremony, the graduates filed between a line of teachers, through the locker room and out behind the stadium, where they were greeted by family and friends.

With their high school career complete, they await their next endeavor, whether it be studying at a university, enlisting in the military, or entering the workforce.

Aria Araceley is enlisting in the Army and hopes to work in a medical lab while Willie Shaw is attending Skagit Valley College to pursue his associates degree before moving on to a larger school. Cody Hancock is off to Arizona to become a mechanic and Sean Johnson hopes to attend the Art Institute of Seattle to study music. Christopher Hoorn is enlisting in the Air Force.

Carsten offered a couple of light-hearted phrases classmates should remember as they move on from high school.

“’Peace and Love,’ ‘Get ‘er done’ and ‘Let’s turn this mother out,’” Carsten said.

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