In the “green room,” also known as a classroom at Quilcene High School, a group of 20 graduates milled about, pinning their caps into their hair, layering …
In the “green room,” also known as a classroom at Quilcene High School, a group of 20 graduates milled about, pinning their caps into their hair, layering leis over their purple sashes, scrolling on their phones, taking photos and joking around.
“Could I have your attention for one last time?” asked principal Sean Moss, gathering the students for a pep talk before the graduation ceremony in Quilcene on June 8. “Or, for some of you, for the first time ever?”
As the small group of graduates gathered around their principal minutes before they would walk into the gym for their graduation ceremony, the closeness of this graduating class shone through.
“The majority of us have spent the last thirteen years together,” said valedictorian Noah Kieffer in his speech. “Even if we might not have always wanted to. We often clashed over what some might call trivial situations. And despite the fighting, we never hesitated to have each other’s backs.”
With only 20 students in the graduating class, these kids were more like siblings than classmates. And as they handed out white roses, their class flower, to their parents, family members, teachers and supporters in the crowd at the Quilcene High School gym at the ceremony on June 8, it was apparent that the community who filled the gym to watch the students graduate were like one big family.
“I consider myself lucky to know you all and to be part of the strong bond we have created,” Kieffer said.
This extremely tight-knit group of students had one of the most successful football seasons in Quilcene history, traveled to California for a class trip, and nearly all were recipients of scholarships for academic success.
“These kids have very differing personalities and interests, but it’s amazing how close they are and how they have each others’ backs,” said Jodi Kieffer, the class advisor. “They kinda became like their own family.”
A slideshow of photos at graduation showed each student as they grew up into the young graduates they are today showed a group of kids who grew up outdoors, hiking, fishing, hunting, dirt biking and playing on the beach.
“They didn’t feel the need to impress people,”said Marji Mueller, who was a paraeducator for the students when they were in kindergarten. “But they were going places.”
This group of students take themselves seriously when it counts, such as when they’re on the football field, in an exam or in the midst of a knowledge bowl competition. But as they turned their tassels on June 8, they were a group of close friends ready for summer vacation. The crowd cheered, the students threw their caps in the air and then collectively burst into laughter as class football star Robert Comstock III’s cap got stuck in the ceiling rafters.