It’s the end of the beginning for the Clatskanie Tigers from the graduating Class of 2017.

A total of 59 seniors from Clatskanie High School celebrated their commencement Saturday in the CMHS gym. Hundreds of family, friends and community members attended the celebrations, which included student speeches, a slideshow and performances from the CMHS choir and band.

Six students graduated as valedictorian and one as salutatorian, while 12 graduated with honors, 15 as members of the Honor Society and two as honorary diploma-foreign exchange students.

Rhonda Stecker-Cameron said that students received more than $100,000 in scholarships this year.

“Many of those scholarships are renewable over the next four years, and if we include that money, scholarships add up to just under $200,000,” Stecker-Cameron said.

She said the number of individual scholarships was close to 30. She then recognized each student who received scholarships by asking them to stand.

CHS Principal Amy McNeil spoke next. She read aloud a letter of recommendation to accept their class back when they were eight graders. the class motto, from Dr. Seuss, which is “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.”

“To the class of 2017, congratulations – you did it,” McNeil said.”

Top honors

The valedictorians are as follows: Hannah Louise Aho, Kerissa Gail Engen, Alexandra Sage Miller, Travis Ross Puckett, Gabrielle Marie Sherman and Bethany Grace Shockley.

Malexa Kegan Fillman Christensen graduated as salutatorian.

The following students graduated with honors and as members of the Honor Society: Jonathan Elnar Adkinson, Hallie Louise Blodgett, Malexa Kegan Fillman Christensen, Kerissa Gail Engen, Rachel Eden Haas, Katherine Rose Lefor, Carmen Marlean Lindblom, Levi Dutch McDonald, Alexandrea Sage Miller, Mackenzie Grace Mitchell, Bethany Ann Shefstad, Bethany Grace Shockley and Reilly Anne White.

Miroslav Lukas Roubal III also graduated as a member of the Honor Society.

Lucia Florez Diaz and Elise Christine Helgesen graduated as honorary diploma-foreign exchange students.

Student speech highlights

Reilly White was the first of three seniors to speak.

She reflected on the roles of parents and students and everything they did leading up to where they all stand today. She started by saying “I’ve always loved the first day of school better than the last day of school.”

“When I was younger, I promised my mom I would never grow up,” she said. “But here we are today, ready for the next chapter of our lives.”

She congratulated the entire class and thanked them for a lifetime of memories.

Levi McDonald was the next speaker. He addressed pupils, administrators and classified staff.

“This has been a long time coming,” he said.

He described walking the halls as a freshman, leading up to their moments taking their first steps as graduates.

McDonald mentioned the impressiveness of there being more than 35,000 high school seniors graduating across the state, but said that there was something more special about being a part of the experience he has had.

“They don’t have you or I or the amazing sense of community that exists within these walls,” McDonald said.

Rachel Haas concluded the speeches leading up to McNeil’s acknowledgement of the graduates, followed by their receiving of their diplomas.

She said their education will not stop after high school, mentioning that lifelong learning would be a part of their everyday lives.

“Here we are … thanks to our wonderful teachers, community members and our adoring families,” she said. “We are the class of 2017.”

Be sure to check out our special Class of 2017 graduation of The Chief available at local newsstands and stores now.

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