Cardinals soar on graduation day

CHENEY – Students in cardinal red gowns covered the arena floor as hundreds of family members, friends and guests filled the seats of Reese Court on June 10 for graduation.

Medical Lake High School Principal Chris Spring opened commencement by highlighting accomplishments of the graduating Class of 2023.

"The first word that comes to my mind when I think of this group is wow," Spring said. "And I mean wow.

"It is incredible to think where these students started, where they have been and where they are now."

Spring detailed how the class had a 100% graduation rate with 125 Cardinals receiving diplomas, and how this year averages into a 98% graduation rate over a 10-year span.

"Class of 2023 we are proud of you; we are excited to watch you soar," Spring said. "Now, go out into the world and continue to make yourselves and those around you better."

Spring thanked and handed the stage to Superintendent Tim Ames, who recently announced he is retiring June 30.

Ames described his time in education, recapping a 38-year career in various positions and school districts. He said Medical Lake is his favorite district to have worked in.

He highlighted the district being recognized by the state for service to military families, stating that Medical Lake is the first to win The Purple Star in Washington.

He also said he enjoyed working in the district during his tenure.

To the Class of 2023, you were third-graders when I started as superintendent," Ames said. "And you become family when you work as administrators, so I have personally known a couple of graduates since they were in third-grade, and watched them grow into scholars and athletes."

He mentioned that multiple administrators had seniors graduating.

"It's exciting for me to see that," he said, as he introduced Kim Headrick as the next School District leader.

Ames noted that Headrick graduated from Medical Lake in 1989, and that the new assistant superintendent is also a Cardinal alumnus.

Headrick thanked Ames for his time, inspiration and knowledge. She also made it a point that her attendance as a mother outweighed everything else in that moment.

Highlighting the students' ability to overcome adversity was a theme of her speech.

Headrick told the class their accomplishments are nothing short of amazing.

"Through the past few years, we've had the opportunity to learn about you," Headrick said. "Your passions, your fears and your future dreams. We've watched you grow.

"You have so much to be proud of and we are certainly proud of you."

Taking his spot behind the podium next, Senior Class President Mason Satko relayed a message of confidence.

"Words are beyond me to describe how special it has been to stand side by side each of you talented and fine individuals every day since day one," Satko said. "It is with 100% confidence that I can say, we're going to be alright."

He validated the feelings of his peers, going though a list of what-ifs that graduates may be feeling.

In Medical Lake, the students get to vote for a staff member to speak at graduation – they chose Cris Henry.

Henry told the Cardinal graduates he was honored to speak.

Henry opened the floor with some humor, and quoted "Ferris Bueller" saying:

"Life goes by pretty fast. If you don't stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it."

This quote introduced Henry's theme to the graduates that life is a journey, and encouraging the class to run head first into and through challenges in front of them.

"The most important part is to remember this is your journey," Henry said. "So, find joy and happiness in your life as you travel down your path."

The Medical Lake choir took the stage for a musical performance before the class Valedictorians would take turns speaking.

Jenna Castro, Bryan Hawkins, Samuel Ornelas, Josephine Ortega, Rylie Spring and Noah Young all echoed messages of love, compassion, inspiration, empowerment, success and reinforcing the positive tone.

After music from the high school jazz band, the Class of 2023 was certified by Ames.

Graduates in their cardinal red robes then crossed the stage, grabbed their diplomas and took a first step into their prospective future.

Author Bio

Matthew Stephens, Reporter

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Matthew graduated from West Virginia University-Parkersburg in 2011 with a journalism degree. He's an award-winning photographer and enjoys writing stories about people.

 

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