Cougars honor missing seniors at commencement

LAKEWOOD While finishing high school is an accomplishment, the Lakewood Class of 2007 has much more to learn, senior class president Kelvin Mansfield reminded his fellow graduates.
Well have to figure out how to get and keep our parents gas card, and wash and dry our clothes I still havent figured that one out, Mansfield joked. He added a piece of advice for his peers, Our parents arent going to get more proud of us than this nows a good time to hit them up for money.
Mansfield mixed references to a Lakewood MySpace group with inside jokes and teacher shoutouts to the delight of his fellow graduates as they bade farewell to their high school careers in a June 8 commencement ceremony in the Lakewood High School gymnasium.
But despite the 140 seniors happiness and obvious relief to be done with school, the ceremony had a reflective undertone throughout as each graduate wore three ribbons to remember three seniors who would not walk across the stage and receive their diploma. After an unfortunate year in which tragedy struck seniors Meggi Ward, Scott Skiles and Karlie Kaska, the class changed, speakers said.
Lakewood Superintendent Larry Francois said each graduating class has a distinct identity.
Your class leaves with a greater and wiser appreciation of making each day count, Francois said.
After the commencement ceremony, the seniors greeted family and friends on the high school lawn. Coulter Olesen had opened his graduation gown, revealing dog tags on a chain underneath.
Im wearing these for my friend who just got shipped off to Iraq, he said. Olesen doesnt plan to follow his friend into the Marines, though. Hes known for about a year or two that he wants to be a police officer.
Im getting an associates degree at Everett Community College in criminal justice, he said.
Another member of the Class of 2007 just hopes to return to the United States.
Foreign exchange student Nomuum Ovkhuu returns to her Mongolian homeland June 17, but she has already applied to several areas schools for the fall, including Edmonds Community College and Highland Community College. She hopes to follow in her engineer fathers footsteps and become an architect.
Ovkhuu added that her year in America has been a great experience. Her final week in the U.S. will surely include a meal of hamburgers and French fries, two of her favorite things. She added that she appreciates the freedom her fellow students enjoy.
Standing in the gymnasium
surrounded by stacked chairs, Danielle Boshove found herself chatting with English teachers Monica Rooney and Elizabeth Davis as the Lakewood staff began to turn off the lights.
Boshove, who describes herself as passionate about writing, called her senior year at Lakewood High School as awesome. Despite the present high level of European anti-American sentiment, the Dutch foreign exchange student said, I came here because I didnt believe that.
Boshove, plans to pursue a degree in journalism from the English-language University of Journalism in Utrecht, in her native Holland.
The UW-bound Mansfield got a running start on his rivalry with Wazzu, joking that he hoped his classmates would leave their Cougar days behind them at Lakewood. But if a class can be judged by its speaker, the Class of 2007 will be a close-knit group.
As John Mayer would say, I just cant wait for my 10-year reunion, he said.

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