Marysville-Pilchuck, Getchell students graduate together for the first and last time

EVERETT — “This will be the first, last and only graduation of this type,” Marysville-Pilchuck High School Principal Andrew Frost said to the graduating class of 2011.

Frost wasn’t just speaking to the students of his own school on June 13, but he was also addressing the students of the Small Learning Communities of Marysville Getchell High School at the Everett Events Center.

The commencement ceremony not only marked the end of both sets of students’ high school careers, but also saw the first class to graduate from Marysville Getchell since its first classes began at the start of the 2010-11 school year.

M-PHS Valedictorians Chelsea Mueller, Kyla Yorkoski and Mark Blankenship Jr. offered encouragement and advice to their peers, with M-PHS Class President Blankenship adding a touch of levity to the proceedings.

“We’ve all been focused on the individual accomplishments of our high school careers, but tonight is about our accomplishments as a group,” said Mueller, who noted that the class of 2011 came from a diversity of backgrounds and grew up in a digital world unlike those of previous generations.

Even as Yorkoski credited her classmates with growing up from “wild teens” into young adults, she acknowledged that they still have so much to learn.

“You’ll never be fully prepared, so all you can do is the best with what you’re given,” Yorkoski said. “No matter what path you take next, you’ve made it this far.”

Blankenship warned his fellow graduates that leading independent lives as adults would be their most demanding challenge yet, but expressed confidence that they would step up to become the leaders and problem-solvers of tomorrow.

“It’s our turn to illuminate the future, and make it even brighter,” Blankenship said.

M-PHS seniors Deana Fuller and Katie Lundi acknowledged the permanence of the changes that they’d all gone through in their speeches.

“Now we close the chapter of high school, but unlike the books where you choose your own adventures, we can’t go back and do it differently,” Fuller said. “We can only go on. We can’t live out our parents’ dreams. We have to live out our own dreams, because this is our time.”

Marysville Getchell Class Presidents Erica Foss, of the Bio-Med Academy, and Spencer Wilcoxson, of the School for the Entrepreneur, asserted that their classmates branching out into different career paths as adults is merely a continuation of the process that began in high school.

“You could say we were split up into different schools,” Wilcoxson said. “But it was simply a change, and change is part of life.”

After the ceremony, Taylor Benton was congratulated by his parents and his two older brothers, both of whom also graduated from Marysville.

“He’s my baby,” Rose Benton said. “He’s the last one.”

Taylor is already enrolled in Everett Community College, and is considering going into an engineering career through Boeing.

Tyler Offutt isn’t sure where he’ll be going yet, and expects to take a year off in the meantime. M-PHS was his fourth high school in four years, after two different schools in Colorado and Lakewood High School.

“No matter how tough it gets, you shouldn’t give up on your studies,” he advised younger students.


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