TULALIP — Despite a power outage, valedictorian and graduating senior Chance Mair still delivered.
“I didn’t expect the power to go out,” Mair said. “But I was able to go up to the stage, adjust and annunciate.”
Mair is on the autistic spectrum but despite his disability, he has earned nine scholarships and will attend Washington State University.
“It’s a big honor to be valedictorian,” he said. “It shows how far I have come starting from a special ed class.”
He gave a speech during the Marysville School of Arts and Tech June 8.
His form of Autism is Aspergers Syndrome, a high-functioning form of the developmental disorder. Hans Asperger, the pediatrician that coined the term, was quoted in Mair’s speech.
“‘It seems that for success in science or art, a dash of autism is essential,” he said. “I’m not sure if those words are true for everyone, but it certainly has helped me.”
Mair worked on his speech and practiced it for four weeks and was practicing it ever since, he said.
At WSU he wants to study mathematics. He isn’t sure what exactly he wants to do for a career but it will probably involve statistics, he said.
“Now it’s just college, that’s what my next focus is,” he said. “Arts and Tech has prepared me both mentally and physically and in terms of learning.”
Mair graduated along with 54 other students from Arts and Tech, including student-selected speaker Jesse Rutgers and salutatorian Steven Matias, who gave a speech on the importance of people contributing to change.
“We have the opportunity to create change,” Matias said. “No one is going to get up and do it for us. We are the change we seek.”
Student-selected faculty speaker Tarek Al-Rashid spoke followed by presentation of class 2015 by Principal Terri Kaltenbach, an acknowledgment of the graduates by superintendent Becky Berg and authorization of graduates by the Marysville School Board.
After the presentation of the diplomas and senior slide show, the graduating Penguins turned their tassels and tossed their caps as the ceremony concluded.