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West Sound Academy sees 10 graduates cross stage

SUQUAMISH — Kiana Lodge was the perfect place for West Sound Academy’s sixth annual graduation ceremony on Friday night in Suquamish.

Just 10 graduates joined the alumni ranks at the scenic locale, but they were supported by hundreds of family members and friends.

“It was beautiful. The Kiana Lodge is a lovely venue,” WSA head of schools Nellie Baker said.

About 300 people joined the WSA class of 2007, which included Ryan Bohannon, Max Bowen, Kate Briggs, Forrest Davis, Katie Gates, Adam Lauderdale, Corbin Lester, Amelia Stier, Sam Weinstock and Jimmy Wright. In keeping with WSA tradition, each graduate gave a speech during the ceremony.

“This is something we have been doing since we had our first graduates six years ago,” Baker said. “Each graduate gives a two- to three-minute speech. It’s really special. We’re a small close-knit school.”

Baker said she is thrilled that three of WSA’s graduates will travel the world following graduation.

“We have a curriculum that focuses on global issues,” she said. “Our school focuses on cultural understanding as well as a global perspective. Each student realizes they have a role as a citizen of the world. I consider it an honor that they feel the responsibility to go out and contribute to the world around them.”

WSA arts studies director Greg MacDonald said the class of 2007 possesses a bond most graduating classes don’t have.

“Our students are a cohesive group, and it showed during their speeches at graduation,” he said. “The connection between the students, teachers and parents is phenomenal. There’s a special type of camaraderie.”

WSA graduation keynote speaker Kim Bush made a memorable appearance at Kiana Lodge. Bush teaches humanities at WSA and spent the past year teaching in Africa.

“Kim’s one of the most beloved teachers at our school,” MacDonald said. “Most of the graduates hadn’t seen him in a year. They were thrilled to finally see one of their favorite teachers, especially at graduation.”

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