PTHS graduates 'not ready to leave'

By Nicholas Johnson of the Leader
Posted 6/9/15

Speaking to and for his fellow class of 2015 graduates, Colin Coker began by admitting he'd ditched any attempt at writing a funny speech, opting instead to express his true feelings.

But by the …

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PTHS graduates 'not ready to leave'

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Speaking to and for his fellow class of 2015 graduates, Colin Coker began by admitting he'd ditched any attempt at writing a funny speech, opting instead to express his true feelings.

But by the end, his classmates were visibly caught off guard, overcome with an outpouring of both tears and laughter.

“A lot of us haven't come to terms with leaving yet,” class speaker Coker told a packed McCurdy Pavilion on behalf of his fellow 82 Port Townsend High School Class of 2015 graduates on Friday night, June 5.

“We are highly infected and extremely contagious with senioritis. So when we say to everyone around us that we are ready to leave, ready to graduate, ready to go to college, these are all totally true statements but they mask what we won't say: the things we are not ready for. And I will tell you now I am not ready.”

It was those things that simultaneously aroused his classmates' funny bones while striking an emotional chord – things like “...not ready to never hear Profesora Kasperson yell at me for farting again,” and “...not ready to leave almost every one of my closest friends in the world.”

Emotions ran high throughout the evening as celebratory bubbles and silly string filled the air.

When Zach Wilson finished singing Green Day's "Time of Your Life" and performing a surprise song with classmates Anna Manus and Chris Adkins, he embraced his teary-eyed, Kleenex-clutching father, assistant principal Scott R. Wilson, before returning to sit among classmates.

Salutatorian Louise Bednarik made it rain. Associated Student Body President Addison Richert wowed the crowd with her orchestra-backed performance of Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up". And faculty-selected speaker Rose Ridder shocked most everyone by starting her speech with “You won't remember this speech in a year.”

Francois Ballou had the whole hangar on its feet as he performed an original song called "Port Townsend Rap."

Superintendent David Engle shared words of wisdom and teacher Ben Dow recited his much-anticipated ode to this year's graduating class.

Both Andrew Anthony and Ryan Clarke spoke as co-valedictorians, but it was Clarke who gave Dow a taste of his own medicine.

“We must say thank you to our dear Mr. Dow, who has taught us all why the world is doomed, and how,” Clarke said. “But even Mr. Dow I'm sure can see, that great things are coming, don't you agree?”

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