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Buccaneers embark on a new life as grads

Justin Symes raises a football along with his diploma Saturday as the Kingston High School class of 2009 celebrates its graduation. - Brian J. Olson/Staff photo
Justin Symes raises a football along with his diploma Saturday as the Kingston High School class of 2009 celebrates its graduation.
— image credit: Brian J. Olson/Staff photo

POULSBO — More than 150 Kingston High School seniors celebrated their freedom Saturday at the young high school's second commencement exercises.

The graduates, who began their high school careers at North Kitsap High School in Poulsbo, were back at their old stomping grounds for the ceremony, which took place at the North Kitsap Stadium. But Kingston pride was in ample supply throughout the afternoon.

Kingston Principal Christy Cole joked that the students' desire to become Buccaneers could not be contained, even while they were still sophomores at North two years ago.

"(The desire) was starting to break free from the Nordic bonds that held you," Cole said.

Cole also noted that the graduates had been Buccaneers for twice as long as they were Vikings, and carried the swashbuckling theme throughout her welcome address.

"Move forward boldly with confidence and perseverance," Cole encouraged the graduates. "Throw off the bowlines. Catch the trade winds in your sails."

Class salutatorian Rachel Daniels took playful jabs at North, as well as her own school's football and basketball programs, but also complimented her classmates. Daniels specifically listed a number of her fellow graduates and the potential she saw in them.

"Each and every one of us has our own unique talents and will go far in life," she said.

Daniels also credited the KHS staff for the part they played in helping the students succeed.

"Thank you again for giving us such a positive environment to thrive in," she said.

Valedictorian Teresa Nguyen had some encouraging words of her own for the graduates.

"I'm proud to say that we, the Kingston High School class of 2009, are known for our strong unity," Nguyen said.

Nguyen went on to quote several of her classmates' thoughts on education, graduation and the future.

One of those nuggets of wisdom came from Justin Symes, who said, "Education isn't just about what you know. It's about what you do. In our time, only the educated are free."

After a performance by a quintet of graduating vocalists and the ceremonial turning of the tassels, the seniors lined up on the track in front of the cheering crowd for one last salute. As the band transitioned into a rendition of Alice Cooper's "School's Out," the grads tossed their caps skyward and scattered to embrace family and friends.

"I'm ready to start living my life as an independent adult," said Taylor Fladgard.

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