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M-P, MG graduations emotional
EVERETT — The Comcast Arena in Everett was active all afternoon and evening on June 11, as the Marysville Getchell and Marysville-Pilchuck high schools bid farewell to their graduating classes of 2014.
MG valedictorians Brandon Stickels, Alex Gonzalez, Stanley Reyes and Joelle Moussi tag-teamed their speeches.
"Despite our different approaches, we have two big similarities," Stickels said. "First, we have all, through thick and thin, reached this point. Second, and perhaps more importantly, we have left a legacy. As a class, we were the first to go through all four years at Marysville Getchell. We set the traditions and standards for many years to come."
"Each decision you made left a mark, a memory, a legacy," Gonzales said. "We were all free to make our choices, and behind each choice, our character shines through. Our unique sense of values truly shows how diverse our class is. This is what counts when making a positive difference. No matter who you are or how you contributed, you helped shape MG."
"It is your attitude that determines the outcome of your actions," Reyes said. "Don't let one bad grade, or one bad day, bring you down. Let it motivate you to do even better. If there's one thing I learned in high school, it's to persevere. There will be days when life gets rough, but remember to push through and everything will be all right."
"We must come to know each other better to help shape our views," Moussi said. "We must keep our own opinions, but we must also be open-minded to others’, because as we get to know each other, we get to know ourselves.
"We may be scared at what we'll find out, but I urge you, do not be overcome by fear in life," she added.
Dave Rose, principal of the School for the Entrepreneur, touted how the graduating seniors lived up to this year's mantra, "Make a Difference."
"Each of you has had and will have opportunities to make a difference in our world or in the lives of others," Rose said. "Our area just recently experienced a catastrophic disaster a few miles northeast of us, and several of you made a difference helping in some capacity."
At the same time, Rose noted that making a difference doesn't require making headlines.
“Being a parent allows you to make a difference in your child’s development,” Rose said. “Many of you in the coming years will become moms and dads. You will have the chance to make a difference in that little person’s life. We all will be given opportunities to make a difference.”
In the later ceremony, M-P valedictorians Alexandra Leerhoff, Jake Ell and Lorenzo Hubbert tackled the themes of past, present and future.
Leerhoff addressed the students’ shared past by noting that, regardless of their diverse backgrounds, one experience they all shared was being the first M-P freshman class to attend a separate school from the Marysville Getchell students.
“I know that I chose M-P because I wanted to discover who I was and where I wanted to go,” Leerhoff said. “I’ve been inspired by my experiences here, and I hope that you have been as well.
“From period to period, from assemblies to football games, from the bad to the good, we all have different, but interwoven stories,” she added. “We made friends with people we never thought would befriend us, and we lost friends we never thought we’d lose. But now we’re here, and we’re different people than we were four years ago, two years ago, one year ago.”
Ell moved into the present tense by congratulating his peers on graduation.
“We counted the years, the months and finally the days to this event,” Ell said. “All that time waiting, and now we look back and wonder where all the time went. Now that we’re here, the significance of this moment may not have registered yet.”
Ell cited graduation as evidence that they’re already learned what it takes to be successful. As such, he encouraged them to bask in their accomplishments, which he deemed the signs of a new beginning.
Hubbert facetiously claimed to be a time-traveler from the future, using humorous predictions to make a serious point about how much the graduates’ own futures depend on what they choose to do from here.
“Each one of you decided to go out and make something of yourselves,” Hubbert said. “There was something that I could see in all of your eyes. It was a passion and joy for life. You had taken advantage of what you had, and made it into something spectacular.”
Hubbert warned that none of the graduates would be rich or successful right off the bat, but he expressed the belief that his peers will grow and improve themselves and make changes in their lives.
“You are the heroes of your own stories — the life story that you tell now, and the one that you will be telling in twenty years,” Hubbert said.
M-P Principal Andrew Frost advised the graduates to follow the three Ps of patience, perseverance and prayer.
“Your first job is likely one that will be a stepping stone to future opportunities,” Frost said. “You will experience setbacks in your education, employment and in your personal life.
“These setbacks will make your comebacks,” he added. “You will grow and become a better person for it.”
Regardless of their religious faith, Frost summed up prayer as the act of listening to one’s inner voice about doing the right thing.
“There are many competing influences that drown out your conscience,” Frost said. “You will be bombarded with demands, requests, invitations that make decisions even more difficult. Make decisions wisely. Take time to listen. You will be better for it.”