Arts & Tech, Tulalip Heritage graduating classes say goodbye

TULALIP — The Marysville Secondary Campus was kept busy June 6, as both the Marysville Arts and Technology High School and the Tulalip Heritage High School graduating classes of 2009 conducted their commencements in the gymnasium.

Arts & Tech High School

Arts and Tech HS Class Advisor Lara Carlson noted that the school’s Class of 2009 was well acquainted with change by now, in the senses of transformation, transition and substitution.

This class of Arts and Tech students saw three different principals during their time at the school, and Carlson praised them for being resilient enough to accept each one. She likewise noted the students’ move to their current campus last year, as well as the near-tripling of the school’s student body size, with the Smaller Learning Communities.

“A common thread we’ve heard from the students who have come here is that they don’t feel lost here,” Carlson said.

Tulalip Heritage HS Principal Frank Redmon was invited by the Arts and Tech students to speak at their own commencement, and encouraged the class to take to heart a number of quotes from Albert Einstein, who noted that “not everything that counts can be counted,” and vice-versa, as well as that imagination is more importance than knowledge, truth is that which endures the test of experience, and only understanding, rather than force, can succeed at keeping the peace.

“Treasure every interaction you’ve had in these years,” Redmon said. “Take inspiration from the world and provide inspiration to it.”

Arts and Tech ASB President Erinn McPherson reminisced about some of the fun times that she’d shared with both her fellow students and her teachers, and noted her own transformation from a shy girl into an “obnoxiously loud and opinionated leader.” Classmate Heather Campbell, who was asked to deliver the student speaker address, thanked the families, peers and teachers who helped them get this far, including current Arts and Tech Principal Terri Kallenbach, and encouraged them to look back on themselves, not as a unified class, but as a remarkable group of individuals.

Kallenbach pointed out that the class’ official song was “Dream On,” and its official motto was, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” She deemed both of these as appropriate for a class whom she described as “creative, industrious and persistent dreamers, who will build their own doorways to opportunities. Dream big, dream often and dream on.”

William Perry delivered the faculty address, and urged the students to enjoy each moment of life, “because that’s all life is, is a series of moments and who knows where it will take you.” The one thing that he could promise the students was that from this point forward, “You are the authors. You’re writing your own books now, so it’s all up to you.”

Arts and Tech Class of 2009 Salutatorian Jonathon Goldenberger congratulated his classmates on surviving their portfolios and senior projects, while reminding them that they’ll be stepping into the far greater responsibilities of adulthood, as “our new lives begin today.” Arts and Tech Class of 2009 Valedictorian Susan Lawler recalled many of the unique qualities of her classmates and teachers, from Perry’s voice being audible “all the way down the hall,” to which teachers could be bribed with chocolate or persuaded to do the “Electric Slide” dance.

“I’ll miss all you guys,” Lawler said. “Your silliness kept us on our toes. Some of us thought we might not make it, but we did it and if we can do this, we can do anything. Remember, a kite flies higher against the wind than with it.”

Tulalip Heritage High School

Redmon returned to that gym later that same day to say farewell to his own school’s graduating class, crediting their elders with helping to make the students’ accomplishments possible. He extended his thanks to the Marysville School District, the Tulalip Tribes and area youth services.

“The generations that have come before have built the path that these students walk, but it’s these students’ hard work, time and dedication that has enabled them to complete this journey,” Redmon said.

Like the Arts and Tech students, the Tulalip Heritage students have seen a succession of changes in a relatively short amount of time, including their own changes in staff and move to their current campus. Redmon expressed confidence that the students would continue to adapt and succeed in an ever-changing world, while at the same time making the world a better place.

HoneyKwa Williams and Nik-Ko-Te Oldham were selected as this year’s student speakers. Williams, a mother of two children, thanked her family for supporting her and pushing her along the way, while she expressed pride in the obstacles that she’s overcome, and the “positive person” that she’s become.

“Never let anyone tell you that you can’t,” Williams said.

Oldham shed a few tears at the podium, but with Williams’ silent support, she expressed gratitude to all of the students’ mentors and loved ones, “because we’re here because they had faith in us, and hoped for a better future for all of us.”

Tulalip Heritage staff member Shonta Retasket-Truong joked that the students would have no trouble keeping up with changes in technology, considering how proficient they are at texting, before she praised them for not giving up, or giving in to self-doubt.

“You are all somebody unique and resilient and very special,” Retasket-Truong said. “You’ve accomplished a major step here tonight. Step one is graduation. Step two is up to you.”

Marina Benally, one of the guest-speakers for the evening, shared stories of her grandmother, who constantly pushed her to achieve more, but at the same time, also encouraged her to remember her roots, appreciate her surroundings, and “live your life as a prayer.”

The students then presented a jacket and a blanket to Retasket-Truong and fellow faculty member Terry Doong, in recognition of all that they’d done for the class.

Click here for more Tulalip Heritage graduation photos.

Click here for more Arts & Tech graduation photos.

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