Graduates, family members and friends gathered at the Walter Strom Middle School gym Saturday to celebrate the Cle Elum-Roslyn High School graduating class of 2019.
Guest speaker and Cle Elum-Roslyn High School teacher Shannan Williams said she estimated that she had spent an average of 27,000 minutes with each senior graduating, and that students spent an average of 881,500 minutes in class prior to graduation.
“We are here to honor you graduates and praise you for your commitment to your education and your desire to help better your future,” she said. “You will notice after receiving your diploma, that when you open that little black folder, the only thing that will be in there is your diploma. There will be no money to reward you, no stickers to make you feel special, and no map leading you on the road to your future. There will be no paper dictating to you what you should do tomorrow with this new chapter of your life that you are about to embark upon.”
Williams went on to say that a diploma is simply a sign of academic success, and although it doesn’t guarantee success in the future, it also doesn’t mean that people that struggled to achieve it will continue to struggle.
“Remember everyone has to endure stop signs,” she said. “The nice things about stop signs, is they are quick to get through and usually continue to lead you to your destination.”
Williams left the graduating seniors, many of whom are headed to points far away from Upper County with a open-ended welcome.
“Regardless of where your map takes you and what your road looks like, know that all of your maps have one thing in common and that is that you will all always have a road that will lead you back to Cle Elum high school,” she said. “There will always be smiling faces at the door, janitors that could always take a helping hand and teachers that truly care about you. In parting, my last wish for each and every one of you today and always is that your road is paved in gold and your wishes do come true.”
Principal Brett Simpson talked on the identification of the graduating class as being members of “Generation Z,” and that the generation has been identified as natural entrepreneurs.
“Some students here are planning on getting business degrees, joining a family business, or starting their own business,” he said. “No matter how your career goes, remember where you came from. Someone will have given you a break or a start. Be sure to give someone else a break like you received.”
As he wrapped up his speech, Simpson reminded graduates that no matter how far they move from home, it will always be just that: home.
“To the Class of 2019, don’t be a stranger,” he said. “Go out, experience and see the world outside of the Upper Kittitas County. Follow your dreams. Meet new people. Play beautiful music. Laugh. You may shed a tear or two. But just remember your Warrior family is always, always here for you. Once a Warrior, always a Warrior.”